How to Stay Safe and Healthy in the Holiday Season

The most wonderful time of the year is coming in less than a hundred days. The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it is the busiest, and people could get lost in a lot of activities like planning, preparations, and celebrating. But even when things get busy, it is still important to think of staying healthy and safe.

It’s the second year that we are going to celebrate Christmas during the pandemic. But what’s different this year is that more people have been vaccinated, restrictions are starting to ease up, and life is slowly going back to what it used to be pre-COVID.

But easing up restrictions does not mean that we should also ease up on our health and safety. 

Here are tips on how to stay safe and healthy during the holidays:

Wash your hands often to help prevent the spread of germs.

It’s flu season. Germs could easily be spread from one person to another. Wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to soap and water, you can use alcohol or a hand sanitizer to clean your hands. This simple task can make all the difference in your family’s health and in your own health.

Related: Covid-19 Myth Busters: Facts vs Fake News about the Coronavirus Disease

Manage stress.

The holidays are often a challenging time for mental and behavioral health conditions, so you should find a way to prepare yourself for triggers and stressors. Getting ahead of these and creating a plan on how to manage them will empower you to experience the holidays in a healthy way.

Manage stress by giving yourself a break if you are feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, or anxious. Some of the ways to manage stress are simple like finding support, connecting with others, and getting plenty of sleep.

Avoid alcoholic drinks and smoking

Drinking and smoking lower your immune system. According to Healthline, increased drinking can make people more vulnerable to respiratory diseases like COVID-19. Smoking is already known to be a risk factor for many other respiratory infections including influenza, colds, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. Smoking is also associated with increased development of acute respiratory syndrome, a key complication for severe cases of COVID-19 among people who have severe respiratory infections.

Prepare food safely and pay attention to what’s happening in the kitchen

Many of the accidents that happen during the holidays happen in the kitchen. People can easily cut themselves when cooking, splash hot oil on themselves, burn themselves on the stove, and more. To avoid this, keep your kitchen as organized as possible, keeping knives and other sharp objects in a safe place, especially when there are kids around.

If you’re preparing the food, make sure to keep yourself and your family from getting sick. Be careful to avoid cross-contamination of food when cooking, especially when handling raw meats which are more likely to carry bacteria. 

Remember these simple steps: 

  • wash hands and surfaces often; 
  • avoid cross-contamination; 
  • cook foods in proper temperatures; and 
  • put leftover food in the refrigerator promptly to avoid food spoilage

Shop safely

Of course, the holidays aren’t complete without shopping for gifts, but we want to do it safely. The best option for pandemic shopping is to shop online. But understandably, shopping online is not the same as regular store shopping where you are able to touch and try on things. If shopping online is not an option, shopping safely is always a must. 

Here are ways on how you can shop safely:

  • Plan ahead to avoid crowds. 
  • Make a list of the things you need to buy.
  • Think about gifts in a different way- maybe something that doesn’t need purchase from a store.
  • Bring alcohol, wear a face mask and follow health protocols 

Keep gathering numbers limited

Come Christmas time and we might be able to visit family members depending on what the government protocol is for Christmas 2021. It’s been too long since we gathered for an occasion, and family traditions can’t be broken, so we expect to be able to gather as a family, now that restrictions are easing up. But keep in mind that it’s still important to keep an eye on the number of people you’re celebrating the holidays with. It is still highly discouraged to have large gatherings because of the pandemic. 

To keep yourself and your family safe, it’s best to connect physically with only a limited number of people. If you do gather, make sure that you follow the IATF guidelines on gatherings based on the current alert level status of your vicinity. 

Eat healthily and stay active

Eat fruits and vegetables packed with nutrients to help lower the risk for certain diseases. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, sugar, and salt. Also, you must be active for at least two and a half hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least an hour a day.

Get vaccinated

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Vaccination helps in preventing diseases and saving many lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year. But the most important vaccine that you should get now is the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have not scheduled for your vaccination, you may check your local government unit or barangay. The COVID-19 vaccination is handled only by the government and is not available through private institutions. Check out this list of vaccination websites and information for your location. 

Following these safety tips can make your holiday celebrations memorable and most importantly, safe. Keep in mind that being safe and healthy and protecting yourself and your family is the most precious gift you can ever give to them.

The Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center is always here to provide guidance and support to our patients. Get vaccinated now and together we can help keep the numbers down and protect ourselves and our loved ones from getting sick. If you think you might be infected and need a swab test, please call our hotline at (02) 8711-4141 local 372/373/379 or send us an SMS / Viber message at +639955442347.

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