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How You and Your Family Can Have a Healthy Holiday Season

lamp in snow

With all the craziness and stress that comes from the holidays, it can be easy to forget to focus on our family’s health! Here are six tips and tricks to help you keep your family healthy during the madness.

Focus on Car Safety

The holidays come with a lot of travel, and driving to and from your destination can be a great way to get there while saving money on airfare. Car safety is essential throughout the year, but it’s even more important around the holidays. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 48 percent of fatal car accidents occurred on New Year’s and 38 percent on Christmas between 2001 and 2005.

First, don’t drink and drive. The holidays are time for celebrations and entertainment, but that doesn’t mean you should drink and drive — it’s dangerous and increases your chances of getting into an accident and hurting yourself, your passengers or another driver.

Second, pay attention to your seatbelt etiquette — everyone should be buckled in correctly. Children should be adequately secured in car or booster seats. While you should be avoiding accidents if at all possible, a proper seatbelt or car seat can help make sure everyone makes it through with only minor injuries.

Don’t Skip Your Flu Shot

Flu season peaks between December and February, and people getting together for the holidays makes it easier for the virus to spread. When your doctor’s office starts offering flu shots, make sure you take the time to get one. It’s doesn’t provide 100 percent protection, but during most flu seasons, it can help you keep yourself healthy throughout the holidays by reducing your chances of catching the flu.

Stay Warm

Winter weather is amazing — snow and chilly weather are the perfect excuses to snuggle up with someone in front of the fire. It’s important to stay warm, though — no one wants to spend their Christmas with a cold from not dressing warmly enough or frostbite because they didn’t want to wear gloves.

Make sure you take the time to dress appropriately for the wintry weather. Have a snowball fight, but bundle up!

Be Careful With Fire

We all love enjoying a warm fire during the holidays, but it’s important to be safe around fire.  Winter home fires caused by cooking, fireplaces and leaving a combustible material too close to a heat source account for nearly $2 billion in property loss every year.

Keep everything away from heat sources — especially space heaters, which should have a minimum of three feet of clearance around them to use them safely. Make sure you contain your fireplaces, too, and keep little hands away from the flames — unless you’re carefully supervising them while they roast some tasty marshmallows.

Supervise Your Children

Just because you’re surrounded by friends and family doesn’t mean you can stop watching your children. Little ones are incredibly perceptive — they’ll quickly pick up on unobservant parents and find all sorts of trouble to get into.

Make sure you are keeping close eyes on your little ones, especially if there’s a fire going or you’re in an unfamiliar location. You might not know all of the potential risks, especially if you’re visiting someone who might not have a child-proofed home.

Wash Your Hands

As we’ve already mentioned, the holidays fall in the peak of flu season. Even if you already have established some good hand-washing practices for your children, now is an excellent time to reinforce them. Washing your hands with antibacterial soap or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer is your first line of defense against the flu and other viruses that pop up during the holiday season.

If you’re having trouble getting your little ones to wash their hands properly — or for the correct length of time — try the Happy Birthday trick. Ideally, you should be washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, which is the length of singing the Happy Birthday song twice.

The holidays bring people together, but those people are also bringing their germs. Taking a few precautions can help you and yours stay a bit healthier during the upcoming holiday season. Even proper handwashing can help improve your chances of staying healthy and avoiding the nasty flu bug that makes its rounds during the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Don’t focus on the problems that could happen, though — just take some precautions and spend the rest of your time enjoying the holidays with your family and friends. That’s what they’re all about, after all!

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