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Q. The holidays are upon us. What can we do to keep our family healthy during this time of the year?

Posted December 18, 2014 in Advice Column, Winterset


A.  During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season it is easy to make choices that are not good for our health. To give you a little head start on making better choices we’ll share these “Twelve Tips” from the CDC to help you have a healthy Holiday Season.


1. Wash hands often to keep from spreading germs and getting sick. Use soap and clean running warm water for at least 20 seconds. Cover coughs and if you are sick – contain! (Stay home so you don’t share your illness.)

2. Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.

3.  Manage stress. Don’t over-commit yourself which will prevent holiday anxiety and pressure. Get enough sleep.

4.  Don’t drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger.

5.  Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke. There is NO safe amount of tobacco or secondhand smoke. Breathing even a little secondhand smoke can be dangerous.

6.  Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to his/her height, weight, and age. Use a seat belt on every trip, no matter how short the trip.

7.  Get exams and screenings. Ask what exams you need and when to get them. Update your personal and family history.

8. Get your vaccinations (including a flu shot), which help prevent diseases and save lives.

9.  Monitor the children. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, and other objects out of the reach of children. Dress them warmly for outdoor activities.

10.  Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so be careful to never leave fireplaces, space heaters, stoves, or candles unattended. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly.

11.  Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures, and refrigerate promptly.

12.  Eat a healthy diet, and get moving. Eat fruits and vegetables. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat and sugar. Be active for at least 90 minutes a week and encourage kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.

We want you and your family to have healthy holidays, but if you find yourself in need of health care, call us at The Earlham Clinic in Earlham (515) 758-2907 or the Health Trust Physicians Clinic in Winterset at (515) 462-2950. (We’re here 24/7 at Madison County Memorial Hospital just in case Santa falls on the ice.)

Our sincere wishes to you and yours for a very Merry Christmas and most prosperous 2015!


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