What comes to your mind when you think about holidays? Free time and energy to spend as you wish, no rules and regulations, just some time for yourself and your loved ones. The holidays are a time to celebrate, give thanks, and reflect. But after so busy a schedule the bliss would be hard to contain.

Most people become couch potatoes or recluse in their own homes, sleeping day in and day out or sitting in front of the television or computer. Keep in mind that the holidays are also a time to pay special attention to your health.

By following some of these tips you are sure to spend your holidays profitably and also enjoyably.

1. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Wash your hands often with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based product.

2. If you are going to cooler areas during summer vacations then pay special attention to keep warm. Cold temperatures can cause serious health problems, especially in infants and older adults. Stay dry, and dress warmly in several layers of loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing. Check on children, the elderly and pets

3. The holidays don’t need to take a toll on your health. Keep a check on over-commitment and over-spending. Balance work, home, and play. Get support from family and friends. Keep a relaxed and positive outlook. Get enough sleep, it helps in managing stress.

4. Whether you’re traveling across town or around the world, ensure that your trip is safe. Don’t drive after drinking alcoholic beverages, and don’t let someone else drink and drive. Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride on a motor vehicle. Always buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to his/her height, weight, and age. Get vaccinations if traveling out of the country and travel safely.

5. Avoid smoking and breathing other people’s smoke. If you smoke, quit today! Talk to your health care provider for help. You can make it a holiday resolution; smoking is dangerous for your health and also the people around you.

6. Vacations are a time for you to check if your body is in working condition or does it need some treatment. Exams and screenings can help find problems early or before they start. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Schedule a visit with your health care provider for a yearly exam. Ask what vaccinations and tests you should get based on your age, lifestyle, travel plans, medical history, and family health history.

7. Children are at high risk for injuries. Keep a watchful eye on your kids. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, choking hazards (like coins and hard candy), and other objects out of kids’ reach. Learn how to provide early treatment for children who are choking. Develop and reinforce rules about acceptable and safe behaviors for all electronic media.

8. Injuries from falls and fireworks often occur around the holidays. Use step stools instead of furniture when hanging decorations. Leave the fireworks to the professionals. Most residential fires occur during the winter months. Keep candles away from children, pets, walkways, trees, and curtains. Never leave fireplaces, stoves, or candles unattended. Don’t use generators, grills, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning devices inside your home or garage. Install a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in your home. Test and change the batteries regularly.

9. Handle and prepare food safely. As you prepare holiday meals, keep you and your family safe from food-related illness. Wash hands and surfaces often. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping 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. Do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.

10. Eat healthy, and be active. With balance and moderation, you can enjoy the holidays the healthy way. Choose more vegetables and fruit. Select just one or two of your favorites from the host of tempting foods. Find fun ways to stay active, such as dancing to your favorite holiday music. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.

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