From healthy eating patterns to keeping that feast safe to eat, offer patients these 8 tips to kick off a healthier holiday season.
Tip 1: Eat Healthy, Be Active. With the holiday season come holiday parties and big family meals that can tempt patients away from healthy eating and exercise patterns. To help, advise patients to stick to smaller portions of their favorite holiday foods; substitute fresh fruit for candy; limit consumption of fats, salt, and sugary foods and beverages; and get at least 150 minutes/week of physical activity.
Tip 2: Get your flu shot. According to the CDC, during 2017-2018 the flu vaccine prevented approximately 3.7 million flu-related medical visits, 109 000 flu-associated hospitalizations, 7.1 million flu illnesses, and 8000 flu-associated deaths in the US. The CDC recommends everyone aged ≥6 months get the flu vaccine. Educate patients on the benefits of the flu vaccine, which include:
Tip 3: Keep the feast safe. Every year, it is estimated that 1 in 6 Americans get sick from eating contaminated food. Patients should be advised on simple steps to protect their health as well as the health of their loved ones while preparing and serving holiday meals. These include:
Tip 4: Keep your hands clean. Evidence has shown that handwashing can help prevent 1 in 5 respiratory illnesses as well as 1 in 3 cases of diarrhea, so it is important that patients understand how and when to wash hands to stay healthy. Also, if soap and water are not available, patients can use alcohol-based sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.
Tip 5: Outdoor safety. The holiday season is full of fun outdoor activities, but they also expose patients to several safety hazards. Patients can stay safe during all of their outdoor activities by:
TIp 6: Cope with stress. The holidays are a busy and often stressful time of year, so patients may forget to take care of their mental health as well as their physical health. Learning healthy ways to cope with stress and getting the right support can help reduce stress, including:
Tip 7: Travel safely. Whether a patient is traveling across town or across the world, they can ensure they have a safe trip by getting their car ready for cold weather before winter arrives; not drinking and driving; wearing a seat belt and always buckling children using car seat, booster seat, or a seat belt appropriate for their weight, height, and age; and wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle or skateboard. If they are traveling abroad, they should check health and safety risks at their destination and get vaccinated ~4-6 weeks before leaving. Traveling >4 hours can put patients at risk for blood clots, so advise them to frequently move their legs, know the symptoms and when to get help, and to speak with their physician if they are at risk for blood clots.
Tip 8: Prevent injuries. Ensure patients avoid common injuries by educating them to:
“The holiday season is a time to reflect on family and friends, but don’t forget to take time to care for yourself,” said US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, in a recent CDC press release. In the press release, the CDC gave their 8 tips on how to have a safe and healthy holiday season. What were they? In the slides below, get more details on the 8 tips you can offer patients to kick off a healthier holiday season.