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10 Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season

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The holidays are a time of celebration and fun, but the hustle and bustle can lead to poor health choices and potential hazards. These 10 tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will help you and your loved ones enjoy a healthier, safer holiday season:

  1. Wash your hands often. It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but holiday gatherings can expose us to colds and flu. Wash your hands often using soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds to help prevent the spread of germs.
  2. Make your medical appointments. Now is the time to schedule annual medical exams, when the schedule is more likely to be flexible. Ask your health care providers what exams you need and when to get them. Also make sure you are up to date on your vaccinations, including an annual flu shot. Taking these steps helps prevent disease and save lives. To schedule an appointment with your UAB Medicine provider, please call 205-934-9999 or toll-free 800-822-8816.
  3. Manage stress. Keep the holiday season stress under control by finding support, connecting with others, and getting enough sleep.
  4. Don’t drink and drive, and stop others from doing so. If your holiday celebration involves alcohol, make sure you have a designated driver, or consider a rideshare app. Drunk driving puts everyone on the road in danger. Choose to not drink and drive, and help others do the same.
  5. Celebrate smoke-free. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Smokers face greater health risks, and there’s also a risk for nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke.
  6. Fasten seat belts. Buckle up every time – no matter how short the trip – and encourage passengers to do the same. Make sure children are buckled in using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt, depending on their height, weight, and age.
  7. Monitor children. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, and other potential hazards out of the reach of children. Protect them from drowning, burns, falls, and other potential accidents.
  8. Practice fire safety. Most residential fires happen during the winter months, so don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, food cooking on stoves, or candles unattended. Have an emergency plan, and practice it regularly.
  9. Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: Wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook meats to the proper temperature, and refrigerate food promptly.
  10. Eat healthy, stay active. When indulging in holiday treats, limit the portion sizes and fill up the rest of the plate with fruits and veggies, which are packed with nutrients and help lower your risk for certain diseases. Also, adults should strive to be active for at least 2.5 hours a week (one hour a day for kids and teens).