During the holidays, food-related illness can make a festive holiday fest a recipe for disaster when food is not prepared or handled properly. Be sure to wash hands and cooking surfaces thoroughly, cook foods to the proper temperature and refrigerate food within two hours of preparing it.
"By and far the most common reason for acute visits to the doctor this time of year are upper respiratory infections, or concerns about the common cold," says pediatrician Wendy Sue Swanson, Seattle Children's Hospital. Sending germs down the drain instead of into your family's eyes, noses and mouths can help keep your family healthy, especially during the holiday season when you're around more people than usual. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
Protect your family's health when it's cold outside by keeping warm both indoors and outside. Dress in layers to keep warm, check that your indoor heating system is working properly and be prepared for power outages. A properly prepared emergency kit with warm blankets and an alternative heat source such as a fireplace may keep your family warm and healthy.
Watch your children closely for holiday safety hazards, potential accidents and common dangers. Be mindful of youngsters when hanging fragile decorations, do not leave fireplaces and candles unattended when children are around, and watch kiddos around poisonous holiday foliage such as poinsettia plants and mistletoe.
Over-committing your family to holiday events and get-togethers can equal poor family health. Make sure your family gets plenty of shut-eye, minimize holiday anxiety by being selective of the festivities to which you commit and leave plenty of time for relaxing at home to reduce stress.
Give your family the gift of health during the holidays by taking a few simple steps to avoid falling under the weather. Combined with healthy eating and finding fun, festive ways to keep your household active, you can boost your chances of keeping your family healthy during the holidays and well into the new year!
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