NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holiday

Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holiday


          With so many other good things to do during the holiday season, who wants to spend time being sick?  To spend more time with family and friends and less time dealing with a cold or the flu, try these tips from Santa’s Head Elf in charge of Healthy Holidays –

          Wash your hand, wash your hands, wash your hands - Frequent hand washing is the number one way to prevent the spread of germs that cause colds and flu. In a study sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute, 85% of adults washed their hands in public restrooms, compared with 77% in 2007. The 85% total was actually the highest observed since these studies began in 1996. It shows that we’re getting better, but there’s still a long way to go.

          Be handshake wary - The holiday meet-and-greets season offer lots of opportunities for hugs and handshakes. The downside of all this seasonal camaraderie is the opportunity to transmit germs from one person to another. Be very aware of keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose or mouth.

          Get adequate sleep - According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night to stay healthy. Even if your routine is interrupted by guests and/or travel, maintain a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. If you find yourself running around like one of Santa’s overworked elves, even 15-20 minutes of shut-eye will recharge your batteries.

          Reduce the possibility of food-borne illness. If you’re the host, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. If you’re the guest and you think that buffet food may have been sitting out too long, give the food a pass.

          Drink more water than you normally do - When cold weather hits, we often stop reaching for a cooling drink of water. This will increase the chance of dehydration. Hunger pangs can sometimes be a sign of dehydration.

          Keep up with your exercise program (or start one!) - Exercise will increase the beta endorphins and dopamine in the brain – which are the feel good factors in our body’s system.  If you are feeling a little blue during the holiday season, exercise can help. Not to mention, exercise will help counteract all those holiday goodies.

          Plan an exit strategy. Since most holiday parties are at night and you need to work the next day, plan ahead of time how late you want to stay and stick to it.


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