12 Ways to Ensure Holiday Health and Safety
Throughout the year we are afforded many opportunities to celebrate, play, and reflect on
the gift of family and friends. These are also times to pay special attention to your
health and safety. Here are a few friendly reminders of ways to make sure that you
or your family don't
become a "holiday or celebration statistic". Practice prevention. It works!
Eat Healthy and Get Moving
During the holiday season we tend to eat and drink a lot more calories. As you enjoy the
holidays, remember to eat in moderation and stay physically active.
Health Tip: Bowls of fresh fruit are a festive and sweet substitute
for candy or chocolates.
Handle and Prepare Food Safely
Many people do not think about food safety until a food-related illness affects them or
a family member. While the food supply in the United States is one of the safest in the
world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 76 million people get sick, 325,000 are hospitalized,
and 5,000 Americans die each year from food borne illness. Preventing food borne illness
and death remains a major public health challenge.
Health Tip: Do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.
Adverse health effects from cold weather are not exclusive to cold northern climates and
cold, harsh weather can affect you whether you are inside or outside of your home.
Health Tip: Your ability to feel a change in temperature decreases with age and older people are more susceptible to health problems caused by cold. If you are more than
65 years old, place an easy-to-read thermometer in an indoor location where you will see it
frequently and check the temperature of your home often during the winter months.
Exercise Fire (and Fireworks) Safety
The United States has the sixth highest fire death rate of all industrialized countries.
Residential fires are the most frequent cause of fire-related mortalities. Cooking is the
primary cause of residential fires and smoking is the leading cause of fire-related deaths.
Also, in 2006, an estimated 9,200 were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related
injuries. Injuries are most common on and around holidays associated with fireworks celebrations,
especially July 4th and New Year's Eve.
Health Tip: Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home, including
the basement. Be sure to place smoke alarms near rooms where people sleep. Leave the
fireworks displays to the professionals.
Fire Deaths and Injuries -
Fireworks-Related injuries -
Wash Your Hands Often
Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to keep from getting
sick and spreading illnesses.
Health Tip: Wash your hands for 20 seconds or about the length of
the "Happy Birthday" song twice. It is the soap combined with the
scrubbing action that helps dislodge and remove germs. If
soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based wipe or
Don't Drink and Drive
Every day 36 people in the U.S. die and approximately 700 more are
injured in motor vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired
driver. In 2006, 13,470 people in the U.S. died in alcohol-related
motor vehicle crashes, representing 32% of all traffic-related deaths. In 2007, more than
1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
Health Tip: Don't drink and drive.
Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many
diseases and affecting the health of smokers in general.
There are millions of people alive today who have learned to face life without a cigarette.
For staying healthy, quitting smoking is the best step you can take.
Health Tip: Take quitting one day at a time. Stay
upbeat. Keep trying until you become an ex-smoker.
An estimated 5% to 20% of U.S. residents get the flu each year.
More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications and
approximately 36,000 Americans die each
year from flu-related causes. The single best way to prevent the flu is to get
vaccinated each year. In the absence of vaccine, however, there are other ways to
protect against flu.
Health Tip: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or
sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. If
you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve,
not your hands. Also, washing your hands
often will help protect you from germs.
Watch Those Kids
Every child is at risk of choking. In 2001, an estimated
17,537 children under the age of 15 were treated in
emergency departments for choking episodes in the U.S.
However, motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death
among children in the U.S. Child safety seats reduce the
risk of death by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers ages 1 to
4 in passenger cars.
Toys, holiday decorations, and travel are a few areas to pay special attention to
during the holidays...and all year long. Injuries can be prevented if you take
Health Tip: Keep dangerous toys, foods, and household items out of reach
and learn how to provide early treatment for children who are choking.
When traveling, place your child in an age and size appropriate
car seat or booster seat.
Child Safety -
Get Those Exams and Screenings
You haven't had time to get that exam or test you need, but there's no time like the
present. Make the appointment now and start the New Year off right!
Health Tip: Exams and screenings can help find problems early when they
may be easier to treat.
Women: Stay Healthy At Any Age -
Men: Stay Healthy At Any Age -
Manage the Stress
Breathe. Between work and home, the holidays don't need to adversely affect your health.
Health Tip: Balance work, home and personal life; develop a support
network; and relax.
Whether it's across town or around the world, take the few extra minutes to make the
trip unforgettable...in a good way.
Health Tip: If you're driving, buckle up. Wear
your seat belt. Whatever your destination, be proactive,
prepared, and protected.
Traveler's Health -
Now Relax and Have Fun!! You've taken steps to make sure that everything and everybody is
safe and healthy. Enjoy the holidays and make sure you take some time for yourself.
Remember, being healthy and staying healthy takes practice.
These health and safety facts and tips were developed from
information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), Food Safety.Gov, and the Agency for Health
Research and Quality (AHRQ).
The CDC serves as the national focus for developing and applying
disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health
promotion and health education activities designed to improve the
health of the people of the United States.
Food Safety.Gov is the the gateway to food safety information
provided by government agencies.
AHRQ's mission is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and
effectiveness of health care for all Americans.