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The holidays may seem like a time of joy and innocence - but experts want us to be aware of the risks lurking around every corner

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According to some experts, real Christmas trees can trigger allergic reactions as mould begins to grow. Make sure to get a freshly cut tree, and shake off dead needles outside. Plastic trees stored in a damp basement can also be culprits.


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Bacteria in raw cookie dough was apparently responsible for a major 1999 outbreak of foodborne illness in the United States. It's not just the risk of salmonella from raw eggs: E. coli is also a danger, especially in store-bought varities. Cook it first.

Larry Crowe/Larry Crowe/AP

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Ingesting small amounts of mistletoe berries, leaves and stems is unlikely to cause an issue. But consuming large amounts may lead to more serious problems. Hang it high away from kids and pets.

Anders Krusberg/Anders Krusberg/AP

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Eggnog drink is traditionally made with raw eggs, which carries a risk of salmonella poisoning. Buy pasteurized store-bought egg nog to be safe.

John Morstad/john morstad The Globe and Mail

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Actress Deborah Unger. Photo Credit: Russ Martin.


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Carbon-monoxide poisonings often occur in winter when people are using furnaces, wood stoves and other appliances that can produce the toxic gas. Install a certified detector.

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Keep alcoholic drinks away from tiny hands. And always make sure that guests who have been drinking have a safe way to get home.

Kevin Van Paassen/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

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It’s tricky to tell exactly when your turkey-dinner leftovers will make you ill. Health Canada recommends tossing the bird and other dishes after four days.

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Children like to put holiday decorations and ornaments in their mouths, but this can pose health and choking risks.

Jennifer Roberts/jennifer roberts The Globe and Mail

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High levels of lead and cadmium can be found in children's jewellery. Kids should not be permitted to play with such materials or put them in their mouths

Mark Duncan/Mark Duncan/AP

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These flat, circular batteries - often found in toys and electronics - can be swallowed, cause choking and lead to serious problems. Supervise children playing with such gifts.

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