It starts with a scratchy throat or queasy stomach. The next thing you know, you’re sick — and it’s the holidays. High stress, lack of sleep, tainted turkey, coughing guests and other factors create the perfect breeding ground for illness. The good news is, you can take steps to reduce your risks...following are nine tips for staying “holiday healthy:”
- Wash your hands frequently. This is one of the most important steps for preventing the spread of germs. Apply soap to your hands, and rub them together for at least 20 seconds before rinsing.
- Keep stress under control. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by creating and following a holiday to-do list. In addition, place a limit on your commitments and spending.
- Add healthy foods to your diet. No need to give up your holiday goodies — just enjoy them in moderation. Also, substitute sweets and high-sodium snacks with healthier alternatives, such as fruit and unsalted nuts.
- Handle and prepare food safely. Wash food prep surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meats separate from ready-to-eat foods, cook foods to the proper temperature, and promptly refrigerate perishable leftovers.
- Avoid excessive drinking. Too much alcohol causes dehydration and stresses your liver. Limit your intake, never drink on an empty stomach, and alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks, especially water.
- Be a safe traveler. Don’t get sidetracked by holiday distractions. Never drink and drive, always wear your seatbelt, and buckle children into the appropriate safety seat, booster seat or seatbelt.
- Get a flu shot. And don’t wait until the day before your holiday celebration! It takes up to two weeks to build immunity after a flu shot, according to Mayo Clinic.
- Take time to exercise. Be active at least two and a half hours per week, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Discover fun ways to boost your activity, such as dancing to your favorite holiday songs.
- Get adequate sleep. When the festivities ramp up, it can be hard to get your full eight hours. However, sleep deprivation can lead to moodiness and changes in behavior.
Finally, don’t let a fear of illness dampen your holiday spirit. Positive thinking can go a long way toward keeping you in good health! If you are concerned or want to get a baseline for your hearing, click here to find a provider near you to schedule an appointment.