Health tips for a happy holiday season

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

The holidays are happier if you are well and healthy to celebrate. Follow these tips to keep your season merry and bright.

1. Wash hands often to keep yourself from spreading germs and getting sick. The holiday season is one of socializing, parties, and spending time with loved ones - and of sharing germs and illness. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is a good alternative if you can't get to a sink.

2. Bundle up to stay dry and warm. As the temperature drops, the risk of frostbite and other cold-related injuries increases. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: Layers of warm clothing, mittens, hats, scarves and waterproof boots.

3. Manage stress. Don't overcommit yourself. It can be tempting to rush around shopping for gifts, attending parties, and visiting relatives. Prevent holiday anxiety and pressure by scheduling time to relax and by making sure you get enough sleep. Another way to avoid stress is by setting a budget and sticking to it this holiday season. A financial shortfall is a sure route to stress.

4. Don't drink and drive or let others drink and drive. The holiday party season, with all the eggnog and hot buttered rum, can lead some to overindulge and become intoxicated. Make sure you designate a driver before the party to ensure that everyone arrives home safely afterward.

5. Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your child safely in the car. Many people choose to travel to visit friends and relatives over holiday breaks. The increased volume of traffic on the roads, combined with intoxicated drivers, can mean higher risk of a motor vehicle accident. Use a seat belt on every trip, no matter how short.

6. Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so be careful to never leave fireplaces, space heaters, stoves or candles unattended. Make sure that holiday lights are plugged in to approved extension cords, and don't overload your electrical outlets with too many lights and decorations.

7. Prepare food safely. Hosting family and friends for holiday parties is fun. Getting food poisoning isn't. For your holiday gatherings, remember these simple steps: Wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures, and refrigerate promptly.

For more information about other Health Department services, check out our website at or visit us at .


Carson City Health and Human Services

900 E. Long St., Carson City


Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; call for appointment.

Well-child visits: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays.

Men's clinic: 4-6 p.m. Mondays; call for appointment.

Immunization day: 8:30-11:30 a.m.; 1-4:30 p.m. Thursdays; no appointment needed.


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