Have you made your New Year’s Resolution yet? If not, we have one for you: Keep yourself and those around you healthy during the flu season. The best way to prevent the flu is to get your annual flu vaccination. You might be thinking that it’s too late to get a flu vaccination, or you think you may not need it, but flu season usually peaks in February and can last as late as April or May. Getting vaccinated now can still protect you against the flu this season. There are two types of flu vaccines available.
- Flu Shot: The flu shot, usually given in the arm, is approved for most people 6 months and older.
- Flu Nasal Spray: The nasal spray vaccine is approved for healthy people ages 2 through 49 years who aren’t pregnant.
Healthy eating tips more holiday cheer! Have you thought about how to holiday proof your dietary plans this holiday season for healthy eating? Here are a few items that will keep you on track, but still allow you to eat the holiday food you deserve. You may not be able to control what food you’re served, and you’re bound to see other people eating a lot of tempting treats, but follow these tips to help. Holiday Hacks
- Have pumpkin pie instead of pecan pie. Even with a dollop of whipped cream, you’ll cut calories and sugar by at least a third.
- Break physical activity up into smaller chunks so it fits into your schedule, like walking 10 minutes several times a day.
- Schedule some “me” time every day—a nap, dog walk, or hot bath to get your energy back for the next celebration.
- Have a small plate of the foods you like best and then move away from the buffet table.
- Start with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite.
- Eat slowly. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full.
- Avoid or limit alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food. Alcohol can lower blood sugar and interact with diabetes medicines.
- No food is on the naughty list. Choose the dishes you really love and can’t get any other time of year, like Aunt Edna’s pumpkin pie. Slow down and savor a small serving, and make sure to count it in your meal plan.
You’ve got a lot on your plate this time of year, and physical activity can get crowded out. But being active is your secret holiday weapon; it can help make up for eating more than usual and reduce stress during this most stressful time of year. Get moving with friends and family, such as taking a walk after a holiday meal.
Going out more and staying out later often means cutting back on sleep. Sleep loss can make it harder to control your blood sugar, and when you’re sleep deprived you’ll tend to eat more and prefer high-fat, high-sugar food. Aim for 7 to 8 hours per night to guard against mindless eating.
Pregnancy Food Safety. It's a real thing. You know you need to keep an eye on what you eat during your pregnancy, but in this post we’re offering a few tips for food safety specifically during the holidays.
- Consider avoiding raw or unpasteurized milk and products made with it, such as soft cheeses. Raw or unpasteurized milk and products made with it can contain harmful germs, including Listeria. Avoid drinking raw milk and eating soft cheeses, such as queso fresco, Brie, Camembert, feta, goat cheese, or Roquefort, if they are made from raw or unpasteurized milk.
- Avoid other raw or unpasteurized products, such as juice or cider.
- Be super careful around seafood. Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood unless it is in a cooked dish, such as a casserole,, or unless it is canned or shelf-stable.
- Be aware of holiday beverages. To reduce the possibility of fetal alcohol syndrome, watch out for alcohol-containing holiday punches and eggnogs. Avoid eggnog entirely unless you know it contains no alcohol and is pasteurized or made with pasteurized eggs and milk.
- Stay warm! Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots.
- Wash your hands. Wash hands often to help prevent the spread of germs, Especially with flu season starting to pop up. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.
- Stress Management for Your Holiday Season Manage stress. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and out of control. Some of the best ways to manage stress are to find support, connect socially, and get plenty of sleep.
- Be Smart and Don’t Drink and Drive! Don’t drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger. Choose not to drink and drive and help others do the same. Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Smokers have greater health risks because of their tobacco use, but non-smokers also are at risk when exposed to tobacco smoke.
- Practice Seat Belt Safety. Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your children in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to their height, weight, and age. Buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip and encourage passengers to do the same.
- Healthy Holiday Screenings. Get exams and screenings. Ask your healthcare provider what exams you need and when to get them. Update your personal and family history.
- Vaccinate for your safety and others. Get your vaccinations. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year.
- Keep them safe too! Monitor children. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, and other objects out of children’s reach. Protect them from drowning, burns, falls, and other potential accidents.
- Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, food cooking on stoves, or candles unattended. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly.
- Food Safety for Family Meals Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: Wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures and refrigerate foods promptly. Eat healthy, stay active. Eat fruits and vegetables which pack nutrients and help lower the risk for certain diseases. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. Also, be active for at least 2½ hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.
Toys. Presents. Gifts. It’s December and it’s the holiday gift giving season. Some gifts are not always the best for keeping kids safe and present holiday hazards kids should avoid. Take a look at the safety tips below for this holiday season. Small parts For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, small balls, or items which can cause choking. Balloons Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than eight years old. Discard broken balloons immediately. Scooters and other riding toys Riding toys, skateboards and inline skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times and they should be sized to fit. Magnets High-powered magnet sets are dangerous and should be kept away from children. Whether marketed for children or adults, building and play sets with small magnets should also be kept away from small children. Also consider a few tips once gifts are open:
- Immediately discard plastic wrapping or other toy packaging before the wrapping and packaging become dangerous play things.
- Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.
- Battery charging should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.