Health Highlights

Holiday Health and Safety Tips

Published on: 12/01/2015

Here are some helpful reminders about health and safety during the holidays and the winter months ahead.

  1. Wash your hands often. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing the “Birthday Song”). If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer.
  2. Cover your cough. Help stop the spread of germs that make you and others sick by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough. Put your used tissue in the waste basket. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  3. Stay warm. Cold temperatures can cause serious health issues, especially in infants and older adults. Stay dry and dress warmly in several layers of loose-fitting clothing.
  4. Manage stress. Stress can have a negative influence on the overall state of your health and wellbeing. Avoid over-commitment and over-spending. Try to find a balance between work, home, and play. Get support from family and friends. Plan ahead. Keep a relaxed and positive outlook.
  5. Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and breathing other people’s smoke. If you smoke, quit today! Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or talk to your healthcare provider for help. Being smoke-free would be a great gift.
  6. Get check-ups and vaccinations. Exams and screenings can help find problems before they start. They can also help find problems early, when the chances for treatment are better. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider for a yearly exam. Ask what vaccinations and tests you should get based on your age, travel plans, medical history, and family health history.
  7. Eat healthy and be active. Think balance and moderation. You can enjoy all the holidays has have to offer the healthy way. Choose fruit as a festive substitute for candy. Offer to bring a healthy alternative to a holiday party. Avoid food at parties and focus more on good conversations. Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages. Find fun ways to stay active, such as dancing to your favorite holiday music. Be active for at least 2 ½ hours a week. Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour each day.
  8. Handle and prepare food safely. As you prepare holiday meals, keep you and your family safe from food-related illness. Wash hands and surfaces often. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs (including their juices) from prepared food and eating surfaces. Cook foods to the proper temperature. Refrigerate promptly. Follow safety and preparation guidelines for all foods as indicated on the packaging.
  9. Prevent Injuries. Injuries from falls often occur around the holidays. Use a step stool to instead of furniture when hanging decorations. Children are at high-risk for injuries. Keep a watchful eye on your kids when they’re playing. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, choking hazards (like coins and hard candy), and other objects out of a child’s reach. Learn how to provide early treatment for children who are choking. Make sure toys are used properly.
  10. Prevent fire hazards. Most residential fires occur during the winter months. Keep candles away from children, pets, walkways, trees and curtains. Never leave fireplaces, stoves, or candles unattended. Don’t use generators, grills or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning devices inside your home or garage. Install a smoke detector in your home. Test and change the batteries regularly.

Enjoy the season and be safe, healthy and happy through the holidays.

Article adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -Office of Women’s Health “Holiday Health and Safety Tips” the full version is available here.