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Tis’ the Season Seniors Trip & Kids Swallow Batteries

The Debbie Nigro Show

Release Date: 12/22/2023

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It’s the most dangerous time of the year for some people. Yes, it is. And though we love to laugh at the song ‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer’ it wouldn’t be so funny if it was your own Grandma who got run over on Christmas Eve now would it? (Spiked egg nog and some medications don’t mix well)

Just making you all aware of a couple of serious things that land people in the emergency rooms this time of year.

Adults 65 and older who are already at risk of falls, have an increased chance of falling and hurting themselves during the holiday season because there are more obstacles to navigate. People unexpectedly stumble over wrapping paper, decorations, light cords, and toys etc., both in their own homes and in homes they visit.

Trust me I know. I bought my little granddaughter a blue bouncing ball for Christmas year before last. It was Christmas morning at my house, and ripped up wrapping paper from all the toys was everywhere. I turned around and boom tripped over the ball that wasn’t there a second ago, and fell straight down on my face. Thought I killed myself. Good thing Grandma didn't die on Christmas Day. It would have ruined everything. I seriously was afraid to move. I thought I broke my neck. I did manage to get up, but wow that was a shocker. Ended up with three months of a sprained neck that still aggravates me years later.

It’s the ‘unexpected things’ that trip people up this time of year says, Dr. Imran Ali who adds many of the emergency room visits and accidents seem to happen to older adults.

Dr. Imran Ali is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. He is a Board-Certified Medicine/Internal Medicine Supportive Care specializing in Geriatric Oncology Rehabilitation at The New Jewish Home. He is a regular contributor to several TV stations.

“A lot of my patients who I take care of, they have their own routine, they're in their homes, they can navigate their way around their home because they know the layout. They have poor vision or they're using a walker or a cane. I mean, they know their layout in their home, but when they go to another home, another person's house, if there's a loose rug or there's something in the way they're not expecting, those can cause significant trips. And toys, you know a lot of these toys have parts that come flying off that you don't see.”

Dr. Imran Ali says there are other reasons too seniors may unexpectedly land in the emergency room this time of year. Drinking alcohol may interact with some drugs they might be taking.

“Drinking too much alcohol, alcohol acts like a diuretic, it makes your blood pressure go lower. So, when your blood pressure goes lower, you get dizzy and you can fall, you can pass out, you can get what we call orthostatic hypotension and that can be really dangerous for somebody who's on a blood thinners. “

And let’s not forget to discuss that unfortunate champagne cork in the eyeball thing.

Yes, getting hit by a champagne cork lands many people in the emergency room, say Dr Ali. “Believe it or not, a flying champagne cork can travel up to 50 miles per hour as it leaves the bottle fast enough to shatter glass. And that's according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. If this hits somebody in the eye, you can get corneal abrasions and serious eye injury. So, the best thing to do is to point the bottle away from other people, of course, place a napkin or towel over the top, firmly hold the cork while gently twisting the base of the bottle.”

Another big thing to watch out for? People who get hurt and don't want to destroy the family get-together and decide they’ll go to the emergency department tomorrow or the day after.

Dr Ali says, “People can fall and get what we call an epidural hematoma. I don't know if you remember Bob Saget, who fell in his hotel room. He had a period of where he was fine and okay. Then later on he had the injury. So the epidural hematoma is when you hit your head and you affect one of the arteries and for a moment people can get up, walk around and everything's fine and then later they have the actual big bleed. People shouldn't delay evaluation if they're on a blood thinner especially if they did fall they hit their head you know don't just poo-poo it till afterwards because it could get worse later.”

“I think people just need to be reminded that you can't be lax. If you're walking around somebody else's house, take your time. If you're having people over who are older and there's a lot of kids running around or animals, you know, just beware animals. Excited dogs and cats. I mean a lot of people, you know fall because of that.”

One last mention about what else Dr. Ali has seen in emergency rooms. Sadly, little kids who swallowed batteries.

“I think about young kids swallowing the batteries. Super, super important. These lithium coin batteries, they're small, they're shiny, they look nice. I mean now the newer ones have some kind of covering so it tastes bitter. But you know I have a young one at home and I just I think I think that scares me because once these batteries go into your system the lithium especially it can cause a lot of havoc. It can be really scary. “

Sharing serious information does not have to be dull as you’ll hear in this upbeat informative podcast with Dr. Imran Ali from our live chat on The Debbie Nigro Show. We just want you all to have a safe and warm holiday.