Staying healthy through the holidays is at the top of everyone’s wish list. Spending time with friends and family and participating in seasonal activities are events we look forward to each year. Accidents, injuries and illness can put a hold on our holiday fun, so it’s smart to plan ahead and put safety first. Here are 4 tips to help your family stay healthy during the holiday season.
Keep germs at bay
Fend off the flu and other respiratory illnesses, including colds and COVID-19, by washing your hands often, with soap and clean running water, for at least 20 seconds. Help kids keep count (and make it more fun) by singing the happy birthday song twice while you wash. Getting an annual flu shot and keeping current on other vaccinations can also help protect your family.
The CDC has more tips for safer ways to celebrate the holidays during COVID-19.
Avoid packing on the pounds
Many people gain 5 to 10 pounds over the holiday season, says Valerie Liao, MD, a bariatric physician and weight-loss expert. Here’s the GIFT she says you can give yourself to help prevent holiday weight gain:
- Goals: Keep your long-term weight-loss goals in mind and in plain sight.
- Improve: Concerned you’ll overeat at a holiday gathering? Plan to wear something more fitted. Worried there won’t be healthy snacks? Eat before you go and bring a fruit or veggie plate.
- Fitness: Keep up with your exercise routine; it can help stave off weight gain and provide motivation to stick to your healthy diet.
- Treat: Treats are fine if they’re enjoyed occasionally, but three months of treating is cheating!
Don’t fall, y’all
The Consumer Products and Safety Commission (CPSC) reports an average of 160 decorating-related injuries every day during the holiday season, with nearly half of those involving falls. In addition to falling off of ladders and stepstools, icy streets, walkways and parking lots are responsible for landing many Texans flat on their backs. Senior adults, who are at higher risk for falls any time of the year, need to be especially aware of holiday hazards such as poorly placed decorations and electrical cords.
Help everyone in the family avoid falling by:
- Properly using approved ladders and stepstools and having a spotter
- Walking and driving more slowly if there is ice on the ground
- Clearing your home of slipping and tripping hazards
Fight fire with focus
The CDC reports that most residential fires occur during the winter According to the CPSC, cooking fires remain the leading cause of those fires. All the baking, frying, boiling, sautéing and grilling that happens during the holidays takes its toll: An average of 1,700 cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day every year — more than three times the number of cooking fires reported on any other day of the year. Candles, fireplaces and space heaters pose fire risks as well, so don’t let anything distract your attention when cooking or using any of these heat and light sources —and never leave them unattended.
If someone does get burned, here’s expert advice about what not to do.
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