Heart-Healthy Tips: Holiday Health and Safety Tips
Thursday, 11 December 2008
The holidays are a time to celebrate, give thanks, and reflect. They are also a time to pay special attention to your health. Keep yourself and others healthy and safe this holiday season by following these simple tips. Find more tips at www.cdc.gov/family/holiday.
- Wash your hands often. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based product.
- Stay warm. Cold temperatures can cause serious health problems, especially in infants and older adults. Stay dry and dress warmly in several layers of loose-fitting, tightly-woven clothing.
- Manage stress. The holidays don’t need to take a toll on your health. Keep a check on over-commitment and over-spending. Balance work, home, and play. Get support from family and friends. Practice time management. Keep a relaxed and positive outlook.
- Travel safely. Whether you're traveling across town or around the world, help ensure your trip is safe. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let someone else drink and drive. Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to his/her height, weight, and age. Avoid traveling in low-visibility conditions and on ice-covered roads, overpasses, and bridges.
- Be smoke-free. Live a healthier life and lower your risk for disease by avoiding smoking and secondhand smoke. If you smoke, quit today! Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or talk to your healthcare provider for help.
- Get check-ups and vaccinations. Exams and screenings can help find problems before they start. They can also detect problems early, when the chances for treatment and cure are better. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider for a yearly exam. Ask what vaccinations and tests you should get based on your age, lifestyle, travel plans, medical history, and family health history.
- Watch the kids. Children are at high risk for injuries that can lead to death or disability. Keep a watchful eye on your kids when they’re eating and playing. Keep dangerous toys, foods, and household items out of their reach, including choking hazards like coins and hard candy. Learn how to provide early treatment for children who are choking. Make sure toys are used properly.
- Prevent injuries. Injuries from falls and fireworks often occur around the holidays. Use step stools instead of furniture when hanging decorations. Leave the fireworks to the professionals. Most residential fires occur during the winter months. Keep candles away from children, pets, walkways, trees, and curtains. Never leave fireplaces, stoves, or candles unattended. Don't use generators, grills, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning devices inside your home or garage. Install a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in your home. Test them once a month, and replace batteries twice a year.
- Handle and prepare food safely. As you prepare holiday meals, keep yourself and your family safe from food-related illness. Wash hands and surfaces often. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs (including their juices) away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces. Cook foods to the proper temperature. Refrigerate promptly. Do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.
- Eat healthy and be active. With balance and moderation, you can enjoy the holidays the healthy way. Choose fresh fruit as a festive and sweet substitute for candy. Select just one or two of your favorites from the host of tempting foods. Find fun ways to stay active, such as dancing to your favorite holiday music. Adults should get at least 30 minutes and children should get at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most, preferably all, days of the week.