The holidays should be spent enjoying time with family and friends, celebrating and being thankful for all the great things the year has brought. Unfortunately the holidays can also wreak havoc on our health. Germs are easily spread, diets are thrown out the window, and the cold weather makes exercising nearly impossible.
Carly Quam, DO, McFarland Clinic Carroll Family Medicine physician, shares important tips to keep your family healthy and happy during the holidays
“Before big holiday parties full of hugs and handshakes, make sure your family is up to date on their vaccinations. This includes the yearly flu vaccine,” says Dr. Quam.
If you are over 65 or have chronic health conditions such as diabetes or lung disease you may be eligible for the pneumonia vaccines.
Families, especially those with infants, should insure everyone is up to date on their pertussis vaccine to prevent the spread of whooping cough. Check with your doctor to review your history and determine your vaccine eligibility.
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 away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces,” says Dr. Quam. “Cook foods to the proper temperature and refrigerate promptly. Do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.”
With balance and moderation, you can enjoy the holidays the healthy way. Choose fresh fruit as a festive and sweet substitute for candy. Limit fats, salt, and sugary foods.
“Find fun ways to stay active, such as building a snowman or taking a walking tour of neighborhood holiday lights,” says Dr. Quam. “Make it a goal to be active for at least 2½ hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.”
If you do find yourself ill during the holiday season, be sure to squeeze in some time to rest and recover. Visit your primary care provider to come up with a treatment plan to get you feeling your best this holiday season.
For more information, contact McFarland Clinic Carroll by calling 712-792-1500.