Get Healthy Carson City: Health, safety are great gifts this season

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

Brighten the holidays by making your health and safety a priority. Take steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy with these tips. These healthy habits are good to keep in mind all year round.

Prevent Illness

Wash hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. It’s cold and flu season. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds. A good rule of thumb is, scrub for the time it takes to sing the alphabet song.

Get your vaccinations. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year.

Manage stress. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and out of control. Some of the best ways to manage stress are to find support, connect socially and get plenty of sleep.

Get exams and screenings. Ask your healthcare provider what exams you need and when to get them. Update your personal and family history. Get insurance from Nevada Health Link if you are not insured. Open enrollment closes on Jan. 31. Visit www. to learn more or to sign up.

Eat healthy, stay active. Eat fruits and vegetables, which pack nutrients and help lower the risk for certain diseases. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt and sugar. Also, be active for at least 2 1/2 hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least one hour a day.

Travel Safely

Many people travel for the holidays, and the roads can be treacherous this time of year. Always fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Buckle your children in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to their height, weight, and age. Buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip and encourage passengers to do the same.

Don’t drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger. Holiday parties can involve alcohol consumption, but please drink responsibly. Choose not to drink and drive and help others do the same. Appoint a designated drive, or make arrangements to take a cab.

Make sure your vehicle is winter-ready. Check to ensure that your tires are properly inflated, and carry chains and an emergency kit with food, water, and warm clothing or blankets. It’s a good idea to keep the fuel tank at least half-full at all times.

Watch weather reports and delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival. If you find yourself on the road in inclement weather, slow down and give yourself plenty of time to maneuver on slick roads.

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


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