The hustle and bustle of Christmas can distract us from common sense rules for keeping our families healthy and safe during the festivities. Here are a few last-minute health tips to start us out on the right foot:
1. Savor your favorite holiday foods, but in moderation.
Gathering around the dining room table on holidays is a cherished tradition. It’s where we share, laugh, and express our love with family and friends. It’s all too easy to get carried away with the abundance of special foods and treats. There’s no reason not to indulge a bit, but every reason to be mindful of the amount of food we’re eating. One piece of pie is better than two… and a nice long walk is a great way to burn a few calories and get your mind off second helpings.
2. Don’t let food sit out too long.
There are a lot of distractions on Christmas day, especially if you’ve got kids running around and playing with their new toys. That’s why it’s so easy to walk away from the kitchen while food is still out. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, foodborne illness (food poisoning) affects one in six Americans — thats 48 million people. About 128,000 of those end up in the hospital, and 3,000 die. And it’s mostly preventable. Remember, all leftovers should be refrigerated promptly — never let food sit out more than two hours. If food looks or smells funny, don’t take a chance. When it doubt, throw it out.
3. Wash your hands frequently.
‘Tis the season of cold and flu. Washing your hands often — and correctly — is one of the best ways to protect yourself from germs. This is especially important after you’ve been in close proximity to someone who is sick or after you’ve been out in a crowd. You can lower your chances of spreading your own germs if you wash your hands after you sneeze or cough. Frequent hand washing in the kitchen is another way to help prevent cross contamination that leads to food borne illness.
4. Be aware of holiday fire hazards.
Seasonal candles, fireplaces, and electric lights help to create a festive holiday, but they must be used with care. At the start of the holiday season, check to make sure your smoke detectors are working. Keep lighters, matches, and lit candles out of the reach of children. Real candles should never be used on window sills where they can ignite curtains, or near a Christmas tree. Always use a fireplace screen and double check to make sure the flue is open. Never burn christmas wrapping paper or evergreens, which can spark.
Have a safe and healthy Christmas.
Child with cookies: Photographer Wavebreakmedia Ltd | Wavebreak Media Collection | Thinkstock
Child with stomach ache: Photographer John McLaird | iStock Collection | Thinkstock
Child washing hands: Photographer Naomi Bassitt | iStock Collection | Thinkstock
Candle: Photographer olvas | iStock Collection | Thinkstock
Seatbelts: Photographer Fuse | Fuse Collection | Thinkstock