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Your Health Blog

    Staying Healthy Through The Holidays

    Mary Ann Bieker, MD Internal Medicine, Deaconess Clinic Downtown 12/13/2017
    The holiday season is upon us.  Learn tips on staying healthy and avoiding illness so you and your family can be well from now into the new year.
    Spread Love, Not Germs
    Unfortunately, the holidays coincide with the onset of flu season as well as increased respiratory and gastrointestinal viruses. With so many people sharing small spaces (like cars and airplanes) and spending several days in the same home, it’s easy to spread more than love and presents.
    How can you help? Emphasize good health hygiene. That begins with washing hands frequently and taking advantage of hand sanitizers if available. There are several holiday-themed choices for soap in the stores right now, so pick up a few to encourage your family and guests to clean their hands. When coughing or sneezing, try to cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve rather than your hands. Most importantly, if you have a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or feel sick in general, stay home rather than expose family and friends to your illness. I promise, they will be grateful for your decision.
    When to Get Medical Care
    Most illnesses this time of the year are caused by viruses. If you have a virus, you do not need antibiotics. They aren’t an effective way to fight a virus. Instead, treat yourself or family member with common sense—rest, drink fluids like water and hot tea, and take medicine like Tylenol or ibuprofen for discomfort.

    If you have persistent symptoms with fever greater than 100.4F, cough, or diarrhea, then you may need to be seen by your primary care physician or at an urgent care center. Most problems do not require a visit to the emergency room, but pay close attention to babies, small children, the elderly, and anyone with a chronic medical condition. They are more likely to have severe complications from illnesses like influenza (the flu).
    Deaconess has the most options for immediate care, including virtual visits and a pediatric urgent care.  Find the level of care and location that best meets your needs.

    Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday season.  But if the "healthy" doesn't quite work out, we're here when and where you need us.  

    Maintain a Healthy Weight
    With so many gatherings and so much food, it’s easy to put on 5-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. If you want to maintain your weight and still enjoy your favorite treats, try this:
    • Do not skip meals. It’s tempting to bypass breakfast to make room for a gigantic lunch, but doing that sets the stage for overeating.
    • Drink water. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and especially before you go to a party or gathering where you will be tempted to overindulge.
    • Load up on fruits and vegetables. They have a lot of fiber and water to keep you full.
    • Limit cheese, fried foods, and desserts. Limit. Not completely avoid.
    • Drink alcohol in moderation. Calories from alcohol can add up quickly.
    • Make getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night a priority.
    • Stick with your exercise routine. If you walk every day at lunch, keep doing that. If you have guests, take them with you. 
    If you can simply maintain your weight, count that as a success. Make maintenance your goal, follow the tips above, and enjoy the holiday season with family and friends.  
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