Tags: Cold/Flu | avoid | cold | flu | holidays

5 Ways to Avoid Getting Sick Over the Holidays

By    |   Monday, 15 Dec 2014 05:38 PM

The holidays: A time of joy, spiritual uplift, family gatherings, and…a huge increase in cold and flu cases. Unfortunately, the season puts us all in contact with more germs than other times of the year — through travel, holiday parties, family get-togethers — and that contributes to an annual spike in cold and flu cases across the country in January.

The good news is there are some specific steps you can take to be sure that gifts are the only thing you’re giving — or receiving — in the weeks ahead.
 
Dr. Keri Peterson, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, tells Fox News that five simple strategies can help you stay healthy during the holidays. 
 
No. 1: Avoid germ hotspots: Cold temperatures means spending more time indoors, with the windows shut tight — allowing influenza, cold viruses, and infectious bacteria to rise. Homes, health clubs, retail stores, and workplaces all become breeding grounds for winter illnesses. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re washing your hands regularly and using hand sanitizers to knock down microbes that can cause a cold or the flu.
 
No. 2: Stay home, if you’re sick. Unfortunately, many well-meaning employees, friends, and family members still go to work, attend holiday parties, shop for gifts, or engage in other social events — even when they are feeling a cold coming on. That’s a terrific way to infect your co-workers, family, friends, and others. A better option: Stay home until you’re feeling better and remember to wash your hands frequently to keep from passing your illness on. Many experts also recommend coughing into your sleeve or elbow rather than into your hands to reduce the risk of contaminating anything you touch.
 
No. 3: Take care when traveling: Many people travel to visit family or friends for the holidays, which puts them in closer proximity to others on trains and airplanes, who may pass on their germs by coughing, sneezing, or touching common services. The best way to avoid picking up a virus while using public transportation is by using anti-bacterial wipes to clean your hands, tray tables, television buttons, and arm rests.
 
No. 4: Keep holiday stress at bay: The holidays can be a stressful time and stress can lower your resistance to infections by compromising your immune system. To knock stress down, be sure to stick to a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and limit consumption.
 
No. 5: Hit the gym: Don’t think you have enough time to go to the gym or otherwise exercise during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season? Imagine how you’ll feel if you lose several days or week to a bad cold or the flu. Making time for  a small amount of physical activity each day can help ward off colds and the flu by boosting the immune system and lowering your body’s production of stress hormones.

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The holidays put us all in contact with more germs than other times of the year - through travel, holiday parties, and family get-togethers. But there are steps you can take to stay healthy.
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2014-38-15
Monday, 15 Dec 2014 05:38 PM
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