We all get a little freaked out about the flu at this time of year — get your shots, people — and colds seem inevitable, but there are a whole host of other icky things we should be looking out for around this time too. Not to freak you out even more, but germs are everywhere and winter is generally when they pounce. Keep doing the obvious stuff (like washing your hands thoroughly and sneezing into your elbow) but you’re going to want to be on the lookout for these other seasonal hazards too.
There is nothing more beautiful than a well-executed holiday spread (or any spread for that matter). If you’re at a party that has food sitting out during the festivities be careful of food safety (even if your host isn’t). Just because you’re at a holiday party doesn’t mean the food doesn’t go bad when it sits out for extended periods of time. If you’re the host, be mindful of safety guidelines. If you’re a guest, get food early and don’t take chances on the shrimp cocktail that’s been sitting out for three hours.
The same goes for leftovers. If the food has been sitting out too long, reheating it still might not kill all the bacteria. Only keep it if you’re certain that it’s still okay.
Between hosting parties, having extended family over and gift shopping, the holidays can turn into a huge stress fest. We tend to find ourselves sleeping less and taking on more during this time so keep a read on how that’s affecting you. Remember to get enough sleep, exercise regularly, take time for yourself and seek the help of a professional if you need to. If it’s all too much, just keep the holidays simple. This is supposed to be fun, remember?
Stores are filthy and we find ourselves in them a lot during the holidays. Not only has every item you pick up been touched by several other people (probably in varying degrees of health), the cart you’re pushing around has probably never been properly cleaned. Ever. Studies have shown that shopping cart handles can have almost 300 times more bacteria than your toilet handle and 75 per cent of those are harmful. The bacteria can include anything from salmonella and E.Coli to traces of actual human feces. Yuck.
To avoid catching something deadly or bringing that mess home to your family, wipe down your cart handle before you shop, keep your gloves on or just shop online.
We’re into the thick of the school year now and this is the time that kids can spread lice like mad. They’re sharing hats and scarves at school, sharing pillows and blankets at sleepovers and cuddling together in front of the fire. That’s the perfect environment for lice to jump head to head and spread their own form of holiday cheer. Warn your kids about the dangers of sharing their hats and suggest putting hair in braids or buns when they go to sleepovers.