"Handwashing is the single most important means of
preventing the spread of infections."
-- U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Holiday Health and Safety Tips
The holidays are a great opportunity to enjoy time with family and
friends, celebrate life, to be grateful, and reflect on what's
important. They are also a time to appreciate the gift of health.
Here are some holiday tips to support your efforts for health and
safety this season.
Wash your hands often.
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 with soap and clean running water, and rub them together for
at least 20 seconds. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when
you cough or sneeze. If you don't have tissue, cough or sneeze into
your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
Cold temperatures can cause serious health problems, especially in
infants and older adults. Stay dry, and dress warmly in several
The holidays don't need to take a toll on your health and
pocketbook. Keep your commitments and spending in check. Balance
work, home, and play. Get support from family and friends. Keep a
relaxed and positive outlook. Make sure to get proper sleep.
Whether you're traveling across town or around the world, help
ensure your trip is safe. Don't drink and drive, and don't let
someone else drink and drive. Wear a seat belt every time you drive
or ride in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your child in the car
using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt appropriate
for his/her height, weight, and age.
Avoid smoking and breathing other people's smoke. If you smoke,
quit today! Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or talk to your health care
provider for help.
Get check-ups and vaccinations.
Exams and screenings can help find potential problems early, when
the chances for treatment and cure are often better. Vaccinations
help prevent diseases and save lives. Schedule a visit with your
health care provider for needed exams and screenings. Ask what
vaccinations and tests you should get based on your age, lifestyle,
travel plans, medical history, and family health history. Get
health insurance through healthcare.gov if needed.
Watch the kids.
Children are at high risk for injuries. Keep a watchful eye on
your kids when they're eating and playing. 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.
Make sure toys are used properly. Develop rules about acceptable
and safe behaviors, including using electronic media.
Injuries can happen anywhere, and some often occur around the
holidays. Use step stools instead of climbing on furniture when
hanging decorations. Leave the fireworks to the professionals. Wear
a helmet when riding a bicycle or skateboarding to help prevent
head injuries. Keep vaccinations up to date.
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 them once a month, and replace
batteries twice a year.
Handle and prepare food safely.
As you prepare holiday meals, keep yourself 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
Eat healthy, and be active.
With balance and moderation, you can enjoy the holidays the
healthy way. Choose With balance and moderation, you can enjoy the
holidays the healthy way. Choose fresh fruit as a festive and sweet
substitute for candy. Limit fats, salt, and sugary 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.