12 ways to stay healthy and safe this season

12 ways to stay healthy and safe this season

This time of year, it can be difficult to stay healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer the following tips for feeling your best in the holiday season.

  1. Wash hands frequently to stop the spread of infection

Handwashing is the number one prevention when it comes to stopping the spread of germs, and is the first line of defense regarding staying healthy.

  1. Bundle up to stay dry and warm

With the weather getting colder, wearing proper clothing when going outside (including dressing in layers to stay warm) such as a coat, jacket, hat and scarf, is the best way to stay warm in the cold.

  1. Manage stress

The holidays can be an extremely stressful time for some people. Many feel extra pressure, and some are experiencing the holidays after a recent loss. Finding a support group, staying in touch and meeting up with friends, getting adequate sleep every night and remembering to take small breaks while at work can help reduce stress.

  1. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let others drink and drive

Many alcohol-related activities occur during the holiday season; making sure to always have a safe way home is important. Having a designated driver or using public transportation/cab services are ways to stay safe when leaving holiday parties.

  1. Be smoke-free

Smoking is not only hazardous to yourself, but to everyone around you that is exposed to the second-hand smoke.

  1. Fasten seat belts every time while driving or riding in a car

Traveling increases during the holidays, and icy road conditions may occur. Wearing a seat belt is the number one prevention of injuries when motor vehicle accidents occur.

  1. Schedule exams and screenings

It is a good time to determine if you have seen a primary care doctor this year or not. Visiting your doctor once a year is a recommended preventative measure. Talk with your doctor about your health history, as well as your families, to determine what screenings and regular check-ups you may need.

  1. Vaccinate

“Vaccinations act as primary prevention from diseases, including influenza,” mentions Dr. Elio Vento, internal medicine physician at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill.

“Flu shots and other vaccinations not only protect you, but they protect the people you encounter. It is especially important for people working in health care professions around children that leave them at risk to exposure for diseases such as influenza.”

  1. Monitor children

Keep dangerous toys away from young children, and be sure to oversee that children receive age-appropriate gifts.

  1. Practice fire safety

Fire-related accidents, including house fires, increase during the winter months. Always double-check fire places, space heaters, stoves, candles and gas appliances. Be sure your family has a plan in case a house fire does occur.

  1. Prepare food safely

Be sure to wash surfaces and hands frequently when handling food. Make sure to refrigerate or freeze any foods that require it, and cook foods to proper temperatures.

  1. Eat healthy and stay active

The holidays come with extra hectic schedules and activities involving unhealthy snacks and drinks. Make sure to continue to make time to exercise. The CDC recommends exercising for two and a half hours every week. Also, maintain a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, while avoiding foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fats.

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Megan Monsess

Megan Monsess is marketing and admissions specialist at Advocate Sherman West Court. She's worked in health care for 8 years and graduated from Northern Illinois University with a bachelors in Public Health. She's an avid Cubs fan and enjoys riding her bike in her spare time.