With the increased holiday stress, sugary foods, being around sick co-workers and family members, and fluctuating weather patterns, the holidays are practically an invitation for colds and the flu. Nobody wants to be sick especially during the holidays.
Here are some tips for a healthy holiday season
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Your behaviors during the day, and especially before bedtime, can have a major impact on your sleep. They can promote healthy sleep or contribute to sleeplessness.
Follow these tips for healthy sleep habits:
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
- Set a bedtime that is early enough for you to get at least 7-8 hours (and more for younger children) of sleep.
- Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature.
- Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings.
- Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
- Avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
- Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime.
Injuries can happen anywhere, and some often occur around the holidays. Use step stools instead of climbing on furniture when hanging decorations. Leave the fireworks to the professionals. Wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or skateboarding to help prevent head injuries.
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.
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. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water, and rub them together for at least 20 seconds. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible because handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. But if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.
GET CHECK-UPS AND VACCINATIONS
Exams and screenings can help find potential problems early, when the chances for treatment and cure are often better. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Schedule a visit with your primary care provider for needed exams and screenings. Ask what vaccinations and tests you should get based on your age, lifestyle, travel plans, medical history, and family health history.
Flu vaccination has important benefits. It can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. Flu vaccine also has been shown to be life-saving in children. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exception. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza.
BE ANTIBIOTICS AWARE
Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. More than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the United States each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result.
Antibiotics save lives, but any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance. About 30 percent of antibiotics, or 47 million prescriptions, are prescribed unnecessarily in doctors’ offices and emergency departments in the United States.
When Antibiotics Are Needed
Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain infections caused by bacteria. We rely on antibiotics to treat serious, life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia and sepsis, the body’s extreme response to an infection. Effective antibiotics are also needed for people who are at high risk for developing infections, like, patients undergoing surgery, patients with end-stage kidney disease, or patients receiving cancer therapy (chemotherapy). If you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed.
When Antibiotics Aren’t Needed
Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as those that cause colds, flu, bronchitis, or runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow, or green.
Antibiotics are only needed for treating infections caused by bacteria, but even some bacterial infections get better without antibiotics. Antibiotics aren’t needed for many sinus infections and some ear infections. Antibiotics save lives, and when a patient needs antibiotics, the benefits usually outweigh the risk of side effects and antibiotic resistance. When antibiotics aren’t needed, they won’t help you, and the side effects could still cause harm. Common side effects of antibiotics can include: rashes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and yeast infections.
Respiratory viruses usually go away in a week or two without treatment. Ask us about the best way to feel better and get relief from symptoms while your body fights off the virus. To stay healthy and keep others healthy:
- Clean your hands
- Cover coughs
- Stay home when sick
- Get recommended vaccines, such as the flu vaccine