Wash hands often. Like really often. When you wash, make sure you use soap and running water for at least 20 seconds (or for how long it takes to sing the alphabet). Hand sanitizers work great in a pinch as well.
Manage stress. No one problem is more universal during the holidays than allowing stress to overwhelm us. If you begin to feel overwhelmed or “stressed out”, take a break. Call a friend or visit with someone. Connect! Get more sleep. Try to make time to exercise or do yoga or get a massage. But most importantly, focus on gratitude for what you have, patience and tolerance with others (everyone has got their stuff going on!) and try not to worry about getting everything perfect.
Don’t drink and drive. In 2013, there were 10,076 fatalities in crashes involving a alcohol (one alcohol- impaired-driving fatality occurred every 52 minutes). During the holiday season, that number increased to 45 per day during the 3-day Christmas period and jumped to 54 per day over New Year’s holiday period.
Please choose not to drink and drive and help others do the same. If someone who shouldn’t be driving is insisting, be forceful. They’ll thank you in the morning.
Stay dry and warm. Layers, jackets and keep from getting wet and cold.
Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Smokers are much more susceptible to bacterial infections than non-smokers. These infections can be life-threatening and both active smokers as well as those exposed to secondhand smoke toxins are at increased risk.
Fasten seat belts. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 1-54! Always buckle your children in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to their height, weight, and age. Adults–and teens–need to buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip and encourage passengers to do the same.
Get exams and screenings–and get your insurance. Get your health insurance lined up for 2016. If you haven’t already, here is the link for the Maryland Health Exchange. You should also check in with your Primary Care to find out what exams you may need.
Get your vaccinations. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. And it’s never too late.
In fact the “flu season” traditionally peaks during late winter/early spring. If you haven’t yet, get it!
Keep an eye on the kids. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, and dangerous presents out of children’s reach.
Practice fire safety. Most fires occur during the winter months. Don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, or candles unattended. Watch food cooking closely. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly. And please remember to turn off the lights on the tree at bedtime and when away from the home.
Be mindful of food safety. When cooking or prepping: Wash hands and surfaces often, to avoid cross-contamination. To avoid food-borne illnesses associated with left overs, read these short article from Evolve.
Eat healthy & stay active. Let’s face it–holidays are the time most of over-indulge. At least for the in-between gatherings and parties, try to eat more fruits and vegetables. Whenever possible, limit your portion sizes and try to minimize the snacking on Christmas cookies.