The holidays are here — the excitement, the celebration, the gift-giving and the time with friends and family.
We want to extend special wishes for Christmas cheer to all our military personnel, first responders and hospital staff who will be away from their families on Christmas Day to ensure we remain safe and healthy. Their sacrifices should never be taken for granted.
To honor their service this holiday week, we want to share a few tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for staying safe and healthy over Christmas.
Wash your hands often. It’s one of the most important things you can do to keep from getting the flu as you’re hanging out with your family. The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and running water, rubbing them together for at least 20 seconds. And to keep your hands cleaner between washes, cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow instead of your hand.
Stay warm. Infants and older adults are especially vulnerable during colder weather, so make sure they bundle up if it gets chilly.
Manage stress. Try to keep your commitments and spending in check and seek support from family and friends. And don’t forget to sleep.
Travel safely. If you’ll be having an alcoholic drink, make sure to enlist a designated driver. Wear a seat belt every time you’re driving somewhere or riding along. Make sure children in your care use a safety seat or booster seat if they’re too young for a seat belt.
Watch the kids. Speaking of children, they’re at high risk for injuries, so keep an eye on them while they’re eating and playing. If you have any potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items or choking hazards like coins and hard candy in your home, keep them out of children’s reach. It’s a good idea to learn what to do if a child is choking, too. And in this age of social media, consider developing some rules about acceptable and safe behaviors online.
Prevent injuries. Christmastime is when many fires start, whether due to cooking or those lovely cinnamon-scented candles. Make sure your home has working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors by testing them monthly and replacing batteries twice a year. Stay attentive of any candles or other fires.
Handle your food safely. Wash your hands often and keep your kitchen countertop and sink clean. Limit the possibility of cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces. Don’t leave perishable foods out for more than a couple of hours.
Eat healthy and get moving. Practicing balance and moderation will allow you to enjoy the holidays without compromising your health. Find fun ways to stay active, like dancing to “Jingle Bell Rock” or whatever your favorite Christmas song is when it comes on the radio.
Our hope is that all of you, our readers, can have a very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.