It’s a wonderful time of year for most people, but it’s also a hectic and crazy time of year. People are running around shopping and decorating and cooking and party hopping, and a lot can wrong with all of this activity. Take food poisoning, for example. Even though, according to the FDA, most cases of food poisoning cases happen during the summer, there is a spike between Thanksgiving and New Year’s because people leave foods out for long periods of time. But here are a few tips to keep your holiday time merry and bright:
FIGHTING FOOD POISONING
If you see that the food at a party has been sitting out for a while, avoid eating it. And if you’re throwing the party, wash your hands frequently while preparing foods, avoid cross-contamination by keeping foods separate, and keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
PREVENTING HOLIDAY HEARTBURN
The foods we eat around the holidays tend to be richer than those we eat other times of the year. Like eggnog, for instance. And these foods can trigger heartburn or an upset stomach. So don’t overdo it. Maybe try one of each thing being offered, not several portions of each. And eat a light snack before you go to a party so you don’t overindulge. And if you tend to get heartburn, bring along some antacids to every party you attend.
BEATING BACK PAIN
Carting around all those shopping bags, lugging the tree into the house, or stacking logs for the fireplace can put a lot of strain on your back. If you have to lift heavy objects, bend down at the knees and not the waist to limit stress on your back. And if you start to feel achy, take a rest, apply an ice pack to the sore area, and take some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, if you approved by your physician.
CUTTING OUT THE CUTS
This sounds silly, but think about it. The most popular gifts these days are electronics, and many of them come wrapped in those air-tight ridiculously tough-to-open plastic packages. People often grab box-cutters or large kitchen knives and end up cutting themselves badly. So instead, use scissors, take your time and never let children try to open these packages. The last thing you want to do is end up in the E.R. during the holidays.
Many people with allergies may begin sneezing and coughing, even in December, and they tend to blame a freshly cut Christmas tree. But it may not be the tree at all. In fact, ornaments and decorations that have been stored all year can harbor mold and collect dust. So when trimming your tree, wipe off your ornaments and air out your decorations. And if you’re prone to allergies, have someone else do the decorating. And keep over-the-counter antihistamines on hand if you your allergies start to flare.
SURVIVING THE STRESS
The best advice I can give is not to over-schedule. There’s always so much to do and try to accomplish during this time of year, but you can only do so much and you shouldn’t pressure yourself into doing things that aren’t necessary. Make time for yourself. Fit in some easy workouts. Even a 15 minute a walk a day can reduce stress considerably. And make lists…of gifts you have to buy, people you want to send cards to, parties you’d like to attend, clothes you need to pack for traveling, etc. This way you can keep yourself organized and won’t feel like you’re saving things to the last minute.
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