Staying healthy as the year winds down and the holidays approach can make the difference between enjoying this special season and simply enduring it. Here are six tips for good holiday health.
- Wash your hands. It’s no coincidence that the holidays are accompanied by cold and flu season. As you spend more time with family, friends and co-workers, you also come in contact with a lot more of the bacteria that can bring on a winter illness. Washing your hands often is your best defense.
- Dress for the weather. Keeping warm and dry during the colder months, especially when you’re spending time outdoors shopping and running errands, can help you avoid a number of health problems. Several layers of loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing work best.
- Watch out for stress. It may be unfair, but it seems that most of the responsibility for buying the gifts, decorating the tree and preparing the holiday feast falls on women. And that’s on top of everything you’re already juggling! So do what you can to lighten your load. Invite a friend or two along for Christmas shopping. Get the whole family to share decorating chores. Remember to take a break now and then, either to relax with a good book or movie, or to get moving with an activity you enjoy.
- Practice food safety. Keep hands and food prep surfaces clean. Keep 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. Don’t leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.
- Stay active. Colder weather can make us reluctant to go outdoors or get the exercise we need. Put some kind of regular activity on the calendar and stay with it, whether it’s a fitness class with friends, a brisk walk with a spouse or time on the treadmill.
- See your doctor. In addition to regular check-ups, schedule an appointment with your physician if you feel something coming on. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and early detection means you can begin to fight back sooner, and enjoy your holidays more.
The holiday season is a special time. Following these simple tips can help you get the most out of yours this year.
Christopher S. Grady, MD
Attending Physician, OB/GYN
A native of the Louisville area, Dr. Grady received his undergraduate degree from Translyvania University, then graduated from the University of Louisville Medical School, followed by an OB/GYN residency at the Medical College of Georgia. He provides care for women of all ages, including general and high-risk obstetrics and a wide range of gynecological care. He has three boys and is a member of the Southern Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Northside Christian Church