Safety Tips for Decking the Halls

Holiday candle and tree decorationsHaul out the holly, string up the lights, and hang the stockings by the chimney (with care)!

The holiday season is finally here, which means it’s time to deck the halls with all kinds of festive decorations.

Our Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents want to ensure your holidays are as merry and bright as possible, so before you adorn your mantle with garland and dangle mistletoe over your door, please read these holiday decorating safety tips.

Christmas trees

Trimming the tree is the main decorating event in many households, but the tree can become a fire hazard if it’s dried out.

Remember to replenish the water in your tree stand on a daily basis, so that your tree remains healthy and hydrated for the duration of the holiday season.

Holiday foliage

Poinsettias, holly, Jerusalem cherries, and mistletoe are all toxic if ingested. If you have pets or small children in the house, avoid using these decorations or opt for the artificial versions.

Artificial snow

If you’re longing for a white Christmas, spraying windows with artificial snow can give your house a frosty glow – even if you live in a warm climate. However, spray-on snow can irritate your lungs, so make sure to follow the directions carefully and only use the spray in well-ventilated areas.

Fireplaces

Adorning the mantle with garlands, stockings, and other decorations is a holiday tradition in many households, but keep these trimmings clear of working fireplaces. You should also be careful when using fire salts, which produce colored flames, since they are highly toxic if ingested.

Lights

Before hanging lights indoors or outdoors, check the strings for cracked sockets, broken bulbs, or frayed/bare wires. Also, only use lights that are approved by a national testing lab, such as UL or ETL/ITSNA.

Do not use electric lights on metallic trees because faulty lights can cause branches to become charged and possibly electrocute someone.

If you’re using outdoor lights, make sure they are approved for that use and plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter device.

Candles

Flickering candlelight can give your home a cozy, warm glow, but candles cause more than 11,000 fires every year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

If you’re using candles to decorate for the holidays, keep a close eye on them when they’re lit, and don’t leave the room without extinguishing the flames. Never put a lit candle on a tree.

Get a Flu Shot to Avoid Winter Illness

Photo of Man with flu illness Heading into the holiday season, too many people in the United States remain unprotected from the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control. If you have not gotten your flu vaccination yet this season, you should get one now, according to the the CDC and our partners at Trusted Choice.

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year, according to the CDC.

The upcoming season’s flu vaccine will protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season. This includes an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and one or two influenza B viruses, depending on the flu vaccine. For more information, see Key Facts about Seasonal Flu Vaccine.

What is the difference between a cold and the flu?

The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. The flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.

More Info about Flu Season >>