The holidays can be one of the most wonderful times of the year—and one of the most stressful. As this season approaches, help keep yourself and your loved ones healthy and safe with these 10 simple tips.
1. Wash your hands frequently
It’s simple, but it’s one of the most basic ways to stay healthy. Keeping your hands clean can help prevent illness and the spread of germs. To get your hands clean, wash them with soap for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t an option, try an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
2. Bundle up
When the temperature drops, be sure to wear layers of warm clothing. Because cold weather can cause health problems, check in on children, older adults and pets frequently.
3. Actively manage your stress
Many people experience more stress as the holidays approach. Actively manage stress by getting enough sleep. Avoid overcommitting, overspending, and try to keep a relaxed, positive outlook.
4. Be safe when you hit the road
Be sure to designate a sober driver for holiday parties—and always buckle up when you get in the car. If you’re travelling with kids, make sure that you buckle them in the car using a booster seat or child safety seat, according to their height, weight and age.
5. Celebrate smoke free
The holidays are a great time to renew your commitment to your health by resolving to quit smoking. Talk to your healthcare provider for quitting tips, or sign up for our Tobacco Cessation Incentive Program.
6. Visit your doctor
Take care of your health for the year to come by visiting your doctor for any annual exams or screenings, which can help find problems early or before they start. Make sure your vaccinations are all up to date, and consider getting a flu shot to help avoid the illness this season.
7. Keep an extra close eye on kids
Be sure to supervise children well this holiday season. Keep potentially hazardous toys, food, drinks, household items and choking hazards out of their reach.
8. Prevent fires
With decorations and celebrations, you may find that you have extra fire hazards around during the holiday season. Be sure that strings of lights are connected properly. Keep lit candles away from children and pets—as well as walkways, trees and curtains. Never leave fireplaces, stoves or candles unattended. Check that all your fire detectors are functioning well, and change their batteries if necessary.
9. Practice food safety
As you prepare holiday meals, stay safe from foodborne illness. Wash your hands and countertops frequently. Avoid cross-contamination by storing raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from ready-to-eat foods. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meats before serving, and refrigerate your leftovers promptly.
10. Eat healthy and stay active
Temptations abound during the holiday season. Help maintain your weight by consciously making healthier choices, like opting for larger portions of vegetables and whole grains, and smaller portions of high-fat treats. Don’t forget to exercise. Try to stay active for 2.5 hours a week, and encourage children and teens to be active for at least 1 hour a day. As always, before starting any exercise program, talk to your doctor and see what he or she recommends.