Twelve tips for staying healthy during the holidays

November 27, 2019

With the holiday season in full swing, managing your health might be the last thing on your mind. To help stay healthy and safe this holiday season, the CDC has released tips for enjoying the holidays while being mindful of your health.

1. Holiday gatherings provide opportunities to come in contact with pathogens, and the CDC reminds us that, while it may be the most wonderful time of the year, it’s also flu season. The agency recommends washing your hands often with soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds to prevent the spread of germs

. 2. With temperatures dropping, people should stay dry and warm by bundling up in appropriate outdoor clothing. The CDC recommends wearing light, warm layers; gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots to stay dry.

3. The holidays bring excitement, but it can also be a stressful and busy time of year. Remember to manage stress by finding support, connecting with others, and getting the recommended amount of sleep, according to the CDC. It’s important to get together with friends and family to destress during the holidays, but make sure to leave some time for relaxation.

4. If a get-together with friends and family involves alcohol, make sure to have a designated driver or utilize a ride share app. The CDC warns against drinking and driving, as it puts everyone on the road in danger. Don’t drink and drive during the holidays and intervene if someone who’s been drinking tries to get behind the wheel.

5. The CDC also recommends being cautious while driving, in general, and to always use seat belts. Younger children should always be in a safety seat or booster seat dependent on their height and weight, while older children and adults should always buckle up.

6. As always, avoid smoking during the holidays. Smoking not only damages the smoker, but those who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

7. Use time off from work or school to catch up on health exams. Visiting a health care provider over the holidays helps stay up to date on health exams. The CDC also recommends using this time to update personal and family history.

8. While visiting your health care provider, make sure vaccinations are also up to date. Adults and children older than 6 months should receive annual flu vaccines, according to the CDC.

9. During the holidays, Santa Claus should not be the only one keeping an eye on children. Make sure potentially dangerous food, toys, drinks, and other objects are out of reach. Parents should also keep an eye out for burns, falls, and other potential accidents, like drowning, according to the CDC.

10. Be sure to practice fire safety too by never walking away from space heaters, fire places, food cooking, or lit candles. The CDC recommends having an emergency evacuation plan for fires in place, and practicing it regularly, just in case.

11. The CDC also recommends using food safety practices, such as hand washing, washing surfaces, avoiding cross contamination, ensuring food is cooked to proper temperatures, and storing food properly, to avoid illness and injury.

12. Lastly, the CDC advises against putting on holiday weight by staying active and eating healthy. When indulging in Christmas treats, make sure to limit portion sizes and fill up the rest of the plate with nutritious fruit and veggies. Fight holiday weight by staying active with at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of weekly exercise for adults and 1 hour of daily exercise for kids and teenagers.

Following these tips from the CDC can help you enjoy the holidays, while avoiding health and safety risks.