Whether it’s the flu, a common cold, or just your run-of-the-mill virus, they’re all lingering threats that can derail your holiday plans. Last year, flu activity in Arlington, TX peaked early, catching many people off guard—and everyone unprepared. In order to ensure you and your family have a happy and healthy holiday season, the Centers for Disease Control recently put out a video reminding you of the twelve ways to prevent illnesses from ruining the upcoming holidays this year.
1. Wash your hands – Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.
2. Bundle up for warmth – We know that some winters in Arlington, TX are downright mild; however, any major changes in internal body temperature can cause your metabolic systems to go into overdrive. This means your body is not as capable at fighting off diseases. It’s important to keep your core temperature stable throughout the day, so bundle up!
3. Manage stress – This may seem laughable with work, travel, family dinners and presents this season, but stress suppresses the immune system which makes it easier for you to get sick and harder to fight off bugs.
4. Don’t drink and drive – While this is an important tip year-round, it is especially prudent to remember during the holidays when there are lots of parties and events serving alcohol. Remember that Dietary Guidelines also recommend that, if alcohol is consumed, it should be in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.
5. Don’t smoke – Just like the previous tip, smoking is not only bad for your lungs, it’s bad for your teeth and gums. This Arlington, Texas dentist wants all their smoking patients to make the New Year resolution to break the habit!
6. Always wear a seatbelt – While the numbers vary from year to year, an average of 343 people die in traffic deaths in the U.S. each year just during the three-day Christmas holiday. Even more—an average of 374—die over the three-day New Year holiday, according to the National Safety Council.
7. Get exams and screenings – Prior to the end of the year, don’t forget to use your health and dental benefits. Not only could these appointments save your life, but not using your benefits means you are leaving money on the table!
8. Get vaccinated – Every year, flu kills 12,000 to 56,000 people and sends as many as 700,000 to the hospital. However, last year saw more than 80,000 people die in the U.S.—the highest death toll in the last 40 years. It’s important to get your flu shot not only to protect yourself, but also to protect those around you.
9. Watch out for your kids – When you are surrounded by family (and chaos), you might think that someone always has an eye on your kids. Ensure that, wherever you are, there are no chocking or strangulation hazards—especially in homes that are not child-proofed.
10. Practice fire safety – 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 and carbon monoxide detector in multiple rooms of your home (including the garage). Test them all once a month, and replace batteries twice a year.
11. Prepare food safely – No one wants to give their entire family food poisoning! That is not a memory that you hope to pass down year to year. Wash hands and surfaces often when preparing food. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs (including their juices) away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces. Cook foods to the proper temperature. Refrigerate promptly. Do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.
12. Eat well and keep moving – On average people gain five pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Beat this statistic by limiting portion sizes and getting at least one hour of activity in every day. What else are you going to do with all that time off?
Also published on Medium.