By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — ‘Tis the season to be merry, but that also comes with an increased number of visits to emergency departments during this holiday season. The most common holiday injury this time of year is related to decorating — falls from ladders, lacerations and back strains from lifting.

Doctors say people need to pay more attention to basic safety precautions and there are other holiday hazards, too.

Santa Claus isn’t the only one who’s busy during the holiday season, so are doctors in the emergency department.

They say too much holiday cheer and over-indulgence is a common reason people will take a ride in an ambulance, rather than a sleigh, this time of year.

“Often times, we’ll see people develop gastrointestinal problems, or even heart problems from taking in too much salt,” said Dr. Tom Waters, an emergency physician at Cleveland Clinic.

Holiday parties and meals can be filled with all kinds of unhealthy items, which can be potentially dangerous for certain patients.

“People who are susceptible to heart problems, such as congestive heart failure, all the things that we do around the holidays, that aren’t so good for us, can actually exacerbate their medical problems,” Waters said. “It’s important to stick with your diet, keep taking your medicine, listen to your doctor. Enjoy the holidays, but don’t overdo it.”

Another holiday hazard that can lead to broken bones and other injuries is consuming too much alcohol.

Doctors say most holiday emergency visits are related to cooking.

“We tend to see a lot of kitchen injuries, such as lacerations from chopping,” Waters explained. “If people are cooking a lot of things at one time, they’re pulling pots out, there’s water boiling, and we will also see a lot of burns around the holiday times.”

Doctors say it’s especially important to watch children and make sure they stay away from holiday decorations. Also, with new toys, there’s also the danger of swallowing small items. Button batteries pose one of the biggest dangers to toddlers and babies.

Stephanie Stahl