By, Sheri Parr
Keep the holidays merry and bright by making your health and safety a priority this season. Here are 10 holiday tips to support you:
- Wash your hands often . It’s flu season. One of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading germs is to wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds. Also, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into hour upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
- Bundle up in layers to stay warm. Cold temperatures can cause serious health problems, especially in infants and older adults. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots.
- Manage stress. The holidays don’t need to take a toll on your health and pocketbook. Keep your commitments and spending in check. Give yourself breaks little and often or whenever you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and out of control. Some of the best ways to manage stress is to find support, connect socially, and get plenty of sleep.
- Travel safely . Don’t drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger. Wear a seat-belt every time you drive or rind in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your children in the car using a safety seat, booster seat, or set belt according to their height, weight and age. Buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip and encourage passengers to do the same.
- Be smoke free. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Smokers have greater health risks because of tobacco use, but non-smokers are also at risk when exposed to tobacco smoke. If you smoke, quit today! Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or talk to your healthcare provider for help.
- Get check-ups and vaccinations. Exams and screenings can help find potential problems early, when the chances for cure are often better. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year. Ask your healthcare provider what exams and screenings you need and when to get them.
- Watch the kids. Kids are at high risk for injuries. Keep a watchful eye on your kids when they are eating and playing . Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items and other objects out of children’s reach.
- Prevent injuries. Injuries can happen anywhere, and some occur around the holidays. Use step stools instead of climbing on furniture when hanging decorations. Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, food cooking on stoves, or leave candles unattended. Candles should never be left burning when you are away from home or after going to bed. Candles should be located where children will not be tempted to play with then, and where guests will not accidentally brush against them.
- Handle and prepare food safely. As you prepare holiday meals, keep yourself and your family safe from food-related illness. Wash hands and surfaces often. Avoid cross contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs away from ready to eat foods and eating surfaces. Cook food thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to ensure these foods have been cooked to a safe internal temperature. Refrigerate promptly. Do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours. Finally, thaw your turkey safely in the refrigerator, in a sink of cold water (Change the water every 30 minutes.), or in the microwave.
- Eat healthy and stay active. Eat in moderation and avoid temptation by considering your health goals in advance. Plan to make time for buying healthy groceries, cooking at home, scheduling regular physical activity, and setting aside a little quiet time for yourself. Eat fruits and vegetables that pack nutrients and help lower the risk for disease and eat these foods first. Limit portion sizes of foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. Also, be active for at least 2 ½ hours a week and help kids and teens be active for 1 hour a day. With balance and moderation,you can enjoy the holidays the healthy way. Support your family and friends too. Encourage them to eat healthy during the holidays and to practice these safety tips.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Holiday Food Safety . [online] Available at:
https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/holidays.html [Accessed 9 Dec. 2019].
“Healthy Holidays”. 2019. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention . https://www.cdc.gov/features/healthytips/index.html.
“Healthy Holidays”. 2019. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention . https://www.cdc.gov/features/healthytips/index.html. 2019. Newsinhealth.Nih.Gov . https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/sites/nihNIH/files/2016/November/NIHNiHNov2016.pdf.
“Holiday Safety | Austintexas.Gov – The Official Website Of The City Of Austin”. 2019. Austintexas.Gov . http://www.austintexas.gov/page/holiday-safety