The world is covered in a blanket of white. Stores are filled with last-minute shoppers. Ovens are filled with golden pies and crusty loaves. The grandest roast turkey is on the table…next to a box of tissues?
No one wants to spoil the holiday season with a chill, cough, or worse. Just a few minutes of your time – and a few simple precautions – can mean a world of difference. For you and your family.
Wash your Hands
Washing your hands in one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of common viruses which cause colds, influenza, diarrhea, and emesis (vomiting). Hand-washing is especially important before meals, before and after preparing food, and after contact with potentially contaminated material (such as the rubbish bin or a stuffy nose). Ensure hands are completely covered with warm soap and water, and rub together for 20 seconds – just long enough for a verse of your favourite carol.
A tired body is a stressed body…and a stressed body is the perfect host for opportunistic infections. When your body is low on energy, the immune system is unable to properly ward off potential attacks from outside microbial agents. Between late-night parties, movie marathons, and last-minute runs to the shops, it’s easy to fall into the trap of losing sleep. Leaving the party early may not be a bad idea if you have an early start the next day; grouchiness and exhaustion are not the best ways to spread holiday cheer.
Don’t Forget the Green
Save room for veggies between the biscuits and trifle…although our favourite treats are tempting, they aren’t always nutritious, and your body needs vitamins and minerals to function properly. Fruits and vegetables possess disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals which give you an extra boost when you need it most.
Late-night ice-skating? Shopping marathon? Bundle up! A cold body is a weak body. Wrap up with scarves, hats, and mittens…you can always remove layers if it becomes too warm. Is it snowing? Ensure your wardrobe includes water-proof material. Cold temperatures and wet clothes spell a recipe for disaster.
Keep Food Safe
The holidays are a time for feasting on our favourite treats. However, arrays of food landscaped on tables and counter tops can provide a breeding ground for microbes, particularly bacteria (such as Salmonella) responsible for food poisoning. Use discretion when serving foods; keep desserts chilled until after the entrée, and keep the turkey warm until dinner time. Be particularly wary of foods containing eggs, milk, meat products, shellfish, and mixed cold-and-hot ingredients (such as pastries stuffed with cream).