5 tips to keep you and your loved ones healthy
Are you starting to feel that trickle in your throat? Cold chills? Lethargy? Yes, the holiday germs are here again. If the holiday season gives you anxiety from all the flu and cold germs floating around, I encourage you to embrace the following tips to stay healthy during the holidays. These recommendations will have you sharing cozy evenings with friends and family instead of searching for tissues and cold remedies.
Know the proper hand-washing technique
When it comes to washing your hands, there is a right way and a wrong way. Three major elements are needed to wash your hands properly: soap, water and friction. Thorough hand-washing decreases your chances of giving yourself a virus through your nose or mouth. It also makes it less likely that you’ll pass something to someone else.
To wash your hands properly, wet them with warm water. Then, create a lather by rubbing your hands together vigorously. As you lather, be sure to coat every surface of your hands and in between your fingers. To ensure that your hands are free of germs, you need to lather them for enough time. A common way to confirm that you’re washing long enough is to sing the “ABC song” in your head or another tune that lasts the same duration. Rinse your hands thoroughly with clean water and dry them well.
Do your part for the environment and use a cloth hand towel. If you’re the one throwing a holiday party, have enough small hand towels for everyone. Wash your hands before every meal. Also, wash them before and after you use the restroom. To stay healthy during the holidays and year-round, wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing and sneezing. Wash your hands before any type of food preparation and before and after handling raw meat, eggs and poultry. Anytime you leave your home, you should wash your hands as soon as you return.
This is not the time to share
From when you were young, you were likely taught that sharing is good, and it’s one of those things that you should always do. But there are times when you shouldn’t. Avoid sharing utensils, towels and drinking glasses as well as any other personal items.
If community food is present at your holiday events, avoid eating it because snack dishes that people put their hands into are especially germy. If you’re the host, make sure to include a serving utensil with every dish. This will ensure that people are spooning or forking out their food instead of using their hands.
Keep track of your glass
When one person sets his or her cup down next to another, it’s easy to pick up the wrong one. To avoid this, purchase disposable cups and keep a Sharpie nearby to make it easy for everyone to mark his or her own cup. Buy cups made from 100 percent recycled materials or ones that are marked compostable to decrease your negative impact on the environment. If you’re using glass cups, consider investing in window markers to identify the glasses. These markers are perfect for keeping track because the product comes off when you wash the cups but not on your guests’ hands. Special reusable charms are also available to place around the stem of wine glasses, for easy identification.
Stay active during the holidays
Reader’s Digest confirms that if you stay active during the holidays, you’ll gain less weight throughout the years. Not only will this keep your pants from becoming too tight, but it will also help your body fight off illness. According to a study completed by the United States government, during the holidays, adults gain more than one pound of weight on average.
The study also determined that most people did not lose the extra weight they gained later in the year. Over time, the extra pounds add up. Those who stay active during the holidays gain the least amount of weight. Some people are even able to lose a few pounds by continuing their workout routine into the new year.
If you’re sick, stay home
When you are sick, stay home as much as possible. It’s the best thing to do for you and everyone else. A compromised immune system means you can pick up other illnesses more easily. Instead, stay home, drink tea, sip hot soup and take your vitamins. It’s also important to rest and let your body heal itself. Don’t allow stress to prevent a quick recovery, and do your best to enjoy your forced time at home. Read the book you haven’t had time for or binge-watch the last season of your favorite show.
If you’re hosting a holiday event and someone in your household comes down with a cold or the flu, cancel or postpone your party. Even if you have a sick child who you confine to his or her room, it doesn’t stop the germs from infecting those who attend. While it’s disappointing to cancel something you planned and worked hard to put together, it would be worse to give a nasty illness to your guests, one that would cause them to spend the rest of their holidays in their own beds.
Once you are feeling well enough to rejoin the human race, do your residual coughing and sneezing in your arm instead of your hand. This decreases the chances of sharing cold or flu germs. Also, stay hydrated year-round. Doing so can help your body fight off illnesses before they have a chance to take hold.
I hope these healthy tips help you and your loved ones avoid an illness this holiday season. Share any additional ideas for staying healthy with me in the comments below. Happy holidays!