Now that we are about two years out of the pandemic, many families are looking forward to celebrating a more normal holiday season. However, that means we need to stay healthy and keep all kinds of germs at bay, including seasonal colds and flu bugs. We have been so diligent about staying healthy and keeping high risk individuals safe, but now that the world is opening back up, the illnesses we haven’t had in a few years are packing a punch this winter. Take these precautionary measures this holiday season as it is very important to stay healthy so you and your family can enjoy this holiday season together.
Seven Tips for Healthy Holidays
Practice good hygiene
Washing your hands has been a constant mantra since childhood and has become a common refrain throughout the pandemic as it’s a simple and effective way to keep germs away. Keep all unwanted germs away, whether they’re Covid-19 germs or a common cold, none are going to aid the large, social gatherings this holiday season. As you’re out shopping and mingling this holiday season, you are likely to come into contact with more germ-laden surfaces than usual, especially with more people travelling this season. Shopping carts, doors, airplanes, and public transportation are major culprits. Carry sanitizer and wear a mask if you feel ill or aren’t comfortable being around large groups of people and, as always, be sure to give your hands a thorough wash when you get home.
Staying hydrated is something that should happen all the time but is even more important during the cold and flu season. Water clears out the toxins that build up in your body, so drinking even more water while sick is extremely important. Staying hydrated doesn’t have to look like drinking gallons of water. Other alternatives include hot soup, soothing tea, electrolyte drinks, frozen popsicles, or watermelon.
While addressing the symptoms of an illness won’t necessarily make it go away, it can ease your discomfort while the sickness runs its course. Over-the-counter saline nasal drops and decongestants can help with a stuffy nose and clogged sinuses. Putting honey in your hot tea and gargling salt water can help with a sore throat and prevent infection. Otherwise, acetaminophen or ibuprofen are the go-to over-the-counter pain and fever reducers if you need some relief from your illness symptoms.
Protect your immune system
A healthy immune system helps your body fight off germs so you don’t get sick, or if you do get sick with a cold or the flu, you could have a milder, shorter illness than if your immune system was weak. Getting plenty of rest, staying well hydrated, eating well-balanced and nutritious meals, and getting plenty of regular physical activity can all help keep your body in good condition to fight off seasonal germs, especially during the holidays.
Keep your medicine cabinet stocked
There’s hardly anything worse than waking up in the middle of the night with a cough or sinus problem and discovering your medicine cabinet is empty. Then, if you can’t get back to sleep and are stuck awake, your sickness might worsen due to lack of sleep. Be proactive by restocking on over-the-counter basics to help keep your symptoms in check. It’s also a good idea to check the expiration dates of any medications you do have on hand and replace anything that is out of date.
Be mindful of spreading germs
If you do end up getting sick, there are steps you can take to protect you and your loved ones. If possible, stay home until your symptoms have passed and you are not contagious. Visit the doctor to get antibiotics if you are experiencing a virus so you don’t spread your germs to anyone else. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or sneeze into your elbow if you don’t have a tissue. These techniques can be effective in preventing the spread of germs and protecting your loved ones from getting sick.
Know when to consult a doctor
In most cases, minor cold symptoms don’t require a visit to the doctor, unless you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19. Then, please arrange to be tested by a doctor or tested with an accurate at-home test. However, if symptoms don’t resolve within a week, grow exponentially worse in a short period of time or aren’t responding to over-the-counter medicines, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your doctor or visit an Urgent Care.