Last updated: Mar 02, 2016


Not-so-fresh air
Smoke from wood burning in the fireplace can bother some people with allergies and asthma. Throw some fancy metallic wrapping paper onto the fire, though, and youve got an even bigger problem: The paper can release toxic fumes when burned. Oh, and those fire salts that create colored flames arent a good idea, either. If ingested they can cause gastrointestinal problems and vomiting.

Tis the season …
... to be jolly—and to get the flu. If you think youre coming down with something, avoid the kiss under the mistletoe and opt for chicken soup in bed. Keep that mistletoe away from pets and children, too: Its poisonous if ingested.

Treats gone bad
Remember the two-hour rule when it comes to food poisoning. Items like cheese, eggnog, creamy dips made with mayonnaise, and deviled eggs can grow harmful bacteria quickly when left out for more than two hours. Try setting a kitchen timer to remind you to toss and replenish.

Diet busters
Those holiday treats are oh-so-tempting. But overdo them (two slices of the traditional Yule log can easily surpass the 1,000-calorie mark), and youll gain more than some next-day sugar blues.

Too hot for comfort
Place your holiday tree away from heating vents and direct sunlight (to keep it from drying out) and several feet from the fireplace. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Christmas trees are involved in about 300 fires annually, leading to 20 deaths, 40 injuries, and an average $8 million in property-damage and -loss.

Trimming tips
There could be bad news about that old tinsel that Grandma left you: If it hangs really nice and straight, it probably contains lead. Replace it with the safer plastic variety. And take care when spraying artificial snow on your tree; inhaling the fumes could make you sick.

Dont get burned
Its easy to forget about burning candles—or to place them too close to flammable objects (on window ledges near curtains, on bookshelves). Maybe this will help you remember: There are more than 23,600 candle-related residential fires each year, resulting in 165 deaths and $390 million in property loss, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Decorating dangers
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that hospital emergency rooms treat about 12,500 people each year for falls, cuts, shocks, and burns caused by faulty holiday lights, dried-out Christmas trees, and other decorating mishaps.

Sick as a dog
Scruffy wants to celebrate, too. But keep your canine away from the seasons sweet treats, particularly chocolate. Toxicity increases as sweetness decreases, so dark or unsweetened chocolate (used in baking) is more poisonous than milk chocolate. Side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity, and increased heart rate.

Light headed
When choosing your cocktail, maybe light isnt better. Drinking booze with diet sodas (like rum and diet cola) can lead to a higher rate of alcohol absorption in the body, making you tipsy before you know it.