Health tips to avoid a blue Christmas

Published 7:34pm Thursday, November 15, 2012

As the holiday season approaches, so do all those sicknesses that come along with it. While the temperature may be falling, the rates of season illnesses like strep throat and the flu virus are rising.

I know I, along with many other Dallas County residents, have begun to fall victim to these nasty holiday gremlins. As we begin to prepare our Thanksgiving meals and schedule holiday get-togethers, it’s important to remember to stay healthy and clean. Also, if you’re already showing symptoms of these sicknesses, it’s important to take the correct precautions so you don’t spread your germs to others.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number one way to prevent sickness this holiday season is no surprise—wash you hands, and do so often.

I can almost hear my mother and every grade school teacher I’ve had, saying the same as I read this precaution. Washing your hands is always important, but even more so during the holiday season. Especially with all the hugs, hand shakes and high-fives that will be exchanged at those many family get-togethers, remember to scrub extra hard using an extra amount of antibacterial soap when washing your hands.

The second precaution the CDC suggests to ward off the holiday blues is an age-old classic — stay warm. Even though we live in the heart of Dixie, Jack Frost’s cold wind still blows across the Black Belt as the winter months set in. The CDC suggests bundling up with multiple layers of loose-fitting, tightly woven material. Infants and elderly residents are especially encouraged to bundle up this season, as these age groups are most susceptible to contracting illnesses due to the cold weather.

The third recommendation on the CDC’s list involves kicking back and relaxing, because stress can often prompt illness. To avoid stress, don’t plan too many family functions or schedule too many stressful events. Remember, staying in and making s’mores by the fire while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” is  just as festive as traveling far and wide to see a Christmas light show.

If you already have a bad case of the sniffles or feel an unwelcome virus beginning to take over, definitely see a doctor as soon as possible. Also, drug stores such as Walgreen’s are still offering flu vaccinations, so it’s not too late to ward off the flu.

So remember, avoid having a blue Christmas this holiday season by taking every precaution possible. Wash your hands, stay warm and avoid stress. After all, the holidays aren’t as joyful when you have to tote around a box of tissues and a bottle of cough medicine.

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