Fun, old-fashioned family gatherings are jolly and all but they can also be loaded with four-alarm seasonal stress. So…before trotting off to the hap-hap-happiest holiday party since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny Kaye, keep these healthy happy tips in mind.
Wash your mitts
Hand washing reduces the spread of diarrheal (ew) and respiratory illness so you can stay on your reindeer game. Washing eliminates microbes and prevents the spread of germs. The Centers for Disease Control recommends lathering backs of hands, between fingers, and under finger nails for at least 20 seconds. If water is not accessible, a hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol is the next best thing. Hand sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs so only use sanitizer as a backup until water and soap is available.
Cover your cough
Stop the spread of germs that cause illness. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Tissue is a single-use item. Dispose of contaminated tissue in a wastebasket and refrain from putting lightly-used tissue into a pocket or purse. If tissue is unavailable, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. Be considerate. Use a face mask if possible to protect others.
The traditions of the season are best enjoyed in the warm embrace of family and kin. Check weather forecasts. Nippy temperatures can cause health problems, especially in very young children and older adults. Stay dry and dress in layers.
’Tis the season to be merry. Don’t over commit your time or your finances. Balance home, work, and play. Keep a relaxed and positive outlook. Get plenty of sleep and exercise.
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Sleep recommendations change as we age. Sleep guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute are as follows 11-12 hours a day for preschool-aged chilren, at least 10 hours a day for school-aged children, 9-10 hours for teens, and 7-8 hours for adults.
Getting there is half the fun. Before you head out into the country in the old front-wheel drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape, remember these guidelines. Don’t drive when you’re tired. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t let someone else drink and drive. Always wear a safety belt in a motor vehicle. Avoid cell phone use. Stay alert. Don’t drive under semi-trucks.
Get a dental exam
Avoid tooth aches during the holidays. A dental exam can help detect problems before they arise. Schedule a visit with your dentist.
Prevent dental mishaps
Dental injuries can happen anywhere, and seasonal accidents are common. Avoid tooth crackers such as unpopped popcorn kernels, olive pits, hard candy, biscotti, hard pretzels, food wrappers, and clothing tags. Teeth are for eating food. They are not a replacement for a nutcracker or Swiss army knife.
Vaccinations help prevent diseases. Ask your physician what vaccinations are recommended based on age, lifestyle, travel, medical history, and family health history.
Keep the sugar plums in your dreams. Eat in moderation. Learn to eat until you are satisfied, not bloated and full. With balance and moderation, the holidays can be healthy. Choose fruit. Slice an apple and add a dash of cinnamon as a sweet substitute for candy. Limit fats, sodium, and sugary treats.
Dance and prance. Regular physical activity improves your overall health and reduces your risk for many chronic diseases according to the Centers for Disease Control. Physical activity is anything that gets your body in motion. The trick is to just move. Discover fun ways to exercise, such as dancing, walking, hiking, or bicycling.