5 Thanksgiving Health Hazards to Avoid

Along with turkey and stuffing, Thanksgiving serves up plenty of health hazards.

ByABC News
November 24, 2014, 12:09 PM
A Thanksgiving turkey dinner is seen in this undated stock photo.
A Thanksgiving turkey dinner is seen in this undated stock photo.
Getty Images

— -- intro: Along with turkey and stuffing, Thanksgiving serves up plenty of health hazards.

While the deadliest day of the year is Christmas, according to one University of California San Diego study, Thanksgiving has more than its share of pitfalls. Read on for five big ones.

quicklist: 1category: Holiday Health Hazardstitle: Car Accidentsurl:text: This year, the National Safety Council predicted, there will be 418 traffic fatalities and another 44,700 injuries from car crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. That’s down from a high of nearly 500 crash-related deaths in 2008.

More than 40 percent of holiday car accidents involve alcohol, according to the National Highway Safety Association. But more than 150 lives will be saved by seatbelts, the NSC said. media:27136191

quicklist: 2category: Holiday Health Hazardstitle: Holiday Heart Syndromeurl:text: Overindulging on turkey day wine, especially if you’re older and obese, can disrupt regular heart rhythms leading to “Holiday Heart Syndrome” an American Heart Journal study showed way back in 1978.

Further strain on the ticker comes from digesting a massive meal. As a recent University of California study found, cheering for a losing football team resulted in a 15 percent spike in heart attacks among men and a 27 percent spike among women. media: 27136340

quicklist: 3category: Holiday Health Hazardstitle: Firesurl:text: More than 4,000 fires occur on Thanksgiving Day, U.S. Fire Administration statistics revealed.

One culprit: Deep-fried turkeys. Each year, they cause approximately five deaths, 60 injuries, the destruction of 900 homes and more than $15 million in property damage, the National Fire Protection Association reported.media: 27136022

quicklist: 4category: Holiday Health Hazardstitle: Food Safetyurl:text: Americans will consume 51 million turkeys on Thursday, Food Safety News reported. And if the bird isn’t fresh or properly cooked, many of them also risk serving up a side of salmonella.

Cooking to an internal temperature of 165 degrees is the best way to avoid poisoning, FSN advised. As for leftovers, store them within two hours or toss them.media: 27137159

quicklist: 5category: Holiday Health Hazardstitle: Petsurl:text:Because turkey bones splinter, they can may choke dogs or cats, the Veterinary Medical Association warned.

Dogs should also be kept away from any dish that contains onions, leeks or garlic because they are known to damage canine red blood cells. Likewise, raisins and grapes can induce kidney failure. And chocolate, especially vast amounts of the dark variety, can lead to serious gastrointestinal symptoms and even death in dogs.media: 27137019