The holidays are upon us! Time to make holiday plans to visit friends and family, attend holiday parties and shows, shop till you drop, and enjoy traditional holiday meals! While this may be the most wonderful time of the year, increased contact with others exposes us to additional hazards and germs –cross-contamination between foods, increased stress, and greater exposure to sickness from others, just to name a few. This doesn’t mean you have to stay home and avoid the festivities! Here are some tips to follow so you and your family can stay healthy and safe while creating wonderful memories.
Handwashing. The first and best way to protect yourself from germs is by washing your hands. We touch so many things throughout the day—doorknobs, countertops, shopping carts—unless you wear gloves, direct contact is practically unavoidable. According to the CDC, handwashing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. Wash your hands often with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.
Food Preparation. When preparing that delicious holiday meal, it is important to avoid cross-contamination. Wash your hands and clean the prepping area prior to use. Use separate utensils when handling raw and table-ready foods. Keep raw meats and seafood away from other foods by storing them in sealed containers or plastic bags.
Bundle Up! The weather out there can be frightful but building a snowman is so delightful! Avoid frostbite and hypothermia by bundling up to stay warm and dry. Layered clothing and proper fit are important for cold weather because it helps protect from harsh winds and precipitation. Adding layers helps prevent sweat from freezing in the underlayers close to your skin and helps keep you dry as well as warm. When layering, start with a moisture-wicking base layer, to help keep sweat away from your skin, and add insulating layers such as fleece to hold in heat. Layers should be snug, but not tight, allowing air to circulate.
Fire Safety. Decorating our homes and cooking delicious foods is a long-time tradition around the holidays. Unfortunately, these beautiful scenes and wonderful smells also introduce an increase in fire hazards. If you decide to get a live tree for the holidays, water it daily. When leaving the house, make sure all lights are off or place them on a timer. Keep flammable items at least 3 feet away from space heaters, fireplaces, and other heating sources. Never leave candles unattended and extinguish them after 4 hours of burn time. Explore safer alternatives such as electric or battery-operated versions for an inviting glow and flicker and oil and reed diffusers for adding scent to a room. Finally, do not leave the stovetop or oven unattended. Set timers reminding you to check on slower cooking items.
The holidays are one of the best times of the year to be thankful and to celebrate life, friendship, and family. Being safe and healthy while having fun should be a priority. HAVE A SAFE, HEALTHY, AND HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!