The 12 Hazards of the Holidays

Osmosis Team
Dec 24, 2019

The holidays are almost here: A time to eat delicious food, to relax with family and friends, to open presents, and, for many of you… to continue studying for exams. If you fall into the latter camp and are feeling slightly bitter about the distractions of the holiday season, this is the blog post for you!

In the spirit of The Grinch, we’re here with a lighthearted reminder that the holidays aren’t always fun and games. We’ve curated 12 holiday-themed health issues into an Osmosis Playlist, to serve up some educational realness during this most joyful time of the year.

1. Buckle up: It's flu season

Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa—whatever you’re celebrating this year, it’s all happening during flu season

You can significantly reduce your chances of catching the flu and being a vector for the virus by getting vaccinated. Learn more about the flu vaccine and how it works with our video.

2. Broken bones from overzealous decorating

Bone fractures and other physical injuries sustained after slipping and falling are among the leading causes of ER visits during the holidays. Please be careful when you’re hanging up those festive lights!

Learning about bone remodeling and repair on Osmosis. 

Bone remodeling hormones.

3. Chocolates, candy, and other delicious temptations

Sweet treats and celebratory beverages pose a significant challenge to people living with diabetes—which can make the holidays something of an obstacle course. Check out our video to learn more about how you can help people manage diabetes during the holidays.

Prediabetes treatments.

4. Undercooked turkey

Turkey and stuffing: a classic holiday combo, and sometimes, a recipe for disaster. Undercooked poultry can carry salmonella bacteria, as can the undercooked eggs in your stuffing. You can make sure your bird is cooked by allowing adequate time for defrosting (24 hours for every 5 lbs of turkey), and cooking your stuffing in a separate dish or tray.

Non-typhoidal Salmonella reservoirs.

5. Christmas tree rash

Pityriasis rosea is also known as Christmas tree rash because of the hallmark “Christmas tree” pattern that develops as it spreads across the chest and ribs.

Learn more about pityriasis rosea in the Papulosquamous Disorders section of our Osmosis High-Yield Notes: Pathophysiology Volume 2, available now on the Osmosis Bookshop or digitally on Osmosis Prime.

6. Christmas disease

You might be surprised to see hemophilia is on this list— but did you know that hemophilia B used to be called Christmas disease? It’s not actually named after the holiday, but after the first patient to be treated for the condition: Stephen Christmas. 

Hemophilia etymology.

7. Long dark nights, and short, dark days

Seasonal affective disorder, SAD, or more recently, Depressive Disorder with a Seasonal Pattern, is a mood disorder that some people experience seasonally. Shorter days and long, dark nights can certainly be depressing, but it’s difficult to tie these mood changes conclusively to environmental factors. It’s possible that that this depressive disorder is related to a dysregulated circadian rhythm or vitamin D deficiency.

Seasonal affective disorder.

8. The Nutcracker (syndrome)

Renal nutcracker syndrome is when the left renal vein, which drains blood from the left kidney, gets squeezed between the superior mesenteric artery and abdominal aorta. It’s kind of like the renal vein is the nut and the two arteries are the nutcracker. 

No, this has nothing to do with the festive ballet—but it made our list nonetheless.

Nutcracker syndrome.

9. Kissing under the mistletoe

Planning on kissing someone under the mistletoe this year? Think again! Kissing is the main way infectious mononucleosis is spread—and you don’t want to spend the holidays laid up in bed.

10. Sub-zero temperatures

When it’s -40 ºF/C, frostbite can set in in just 10 minutes. If you live somewhere cold, you know to wrap up warmly this winter: frostbite is no joke!

Man encased in a block of ice.

11. Germs, germs, everywhere!

Family gatherings are what the holidays are all about. They’re also a breeding ground for germs and viruses. If one of the little ones in your family is looking a little under the weather, get them to a doctor, stat, or you could be triaging a family-sized pandemic in no time.

Streptococcal pharyngitis features.

12. Santa's questionable health

Old Saint Nick lives fast and he lives large, flying around the world in a single night at warp speed while consuming billions of cookies and glasses of milk, smoking all the way. How sustainable is this lifestyle? You’ll have to watch our Osmosis Knowledge Shot to find out.

Santa Claus smoking a pipe.

 We hope you enjoyed this article inspired by Osmosis’s new and improved Custom Playlists feature! Build organized collections of all your favorite Osmosis resources—videos, practice questions, and High-Yield Notes—and share your Playlist with your classmates. Sign up and build your first Custom Playlist today!