PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The holiday season often presents some safety hazards from common food practices to navigating cold and flu season, with additional concerns this season with COVID and RSV.

Legacy-GoHealth urgent care medical director, Dr. Christian Molstrom joined AM Extra to discuss tips on how to stay safe over the holiday season. 

When it comes to food preparation, Molstrom said “I think the biggest thing is to be prepared and don’t rush. That’s a common thing in the holidays here is everybody’s got all kinds of distractions in the house, and they’ve got knives laying around on the counters and they’re being a little too quick with hot liquids, hot fluids, especially with turkeys they can be super dangerous.”

Molstrom noted first-degree burns, the most common, can be treated by running burns under cool water, not ice water, for five to ten minutes, keep the burn dressed and add antibiotic ointment.

“If you start to see any blisters, that’s a good sign to come in and see a medical professional just so we can take a look. Make sure it’s not a burn over a special area like a joint. Palms of the hands can also require special treatment,” Molstrom added.

Beside burns, Molstrom said knife injuries to fingertips are another common injury.

“The most important thing that you can do at home, if you do get a cut from a mandolin or a knife, is to hold really strong pressure right at the area where it’s bleeding. So, just putting bandages on a bleeding wound, generally, isn’t going to be enough to get it to stop bleeding. You really need to squeeze it, and a good five minutes to allow that blood to start to clot,” Molstrom said.

This year, facing COVID along with cold and flu season, when it comes to holiday gatherings, Molstrom said he encourages get togethers as long as health precautions, like tests and vaccines, are taken.

“I really encourage everybody to get together with their friends and family, this is probably the first normal Thanksgiving we’ve had for a while and I think that’s very important, that social time. However, we should be safe,” Molstrom said. “If you’re feeling ill at all, get a test. You don’t want to be taking influenza or COVID into a big family gathering. You can’t really keep a mask on, you’re going to be near people, drinking and socializing.”

According to Molstrom, if you take a COVID antigen test at home, the CDC recommends testing negative twice, two days apart. He added that PCR tests can be taken at a clinic and are more accurate than at-home tests. Molstrom said a single negative PCR test should be ok unless your medical provider tells you otherwise.

Looking ahead to Christmas, Molstrom recommends getting s flu shot and a COVID booster.

“They’re not going to necessarily keep you from getting sick or getting infected, but if you do, it will cut down on your chances of spreading it and also reduce the length of your illness,” Molstrom said.