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How to Avoid Holiday Germs

The holidays are a time to give and to receive. Unfortunately, for some of us this may mean receiving the gift of a holiday cold or flu. Between the additional time spent indoors, the contact with large groups of people and lack of sleep, holiday germs are frequent visitors this time of year. But do you know the source of those germs or how they manage to affect you? Here are some tips and tricks to help you stay healthy this holiday season!

Avoid Germy Areas: With all the things you need to buy over the holidays it is tough to avoid crowded stores. Locations like the grocery store and mall are common places to come in contact with germs. Make sure you have your lists prepared before you head out shopping to help you limit the time spent inside. If using a cart, be sure to wipe the handle clean and avoid touching your face until you have a chance to wash your hands. It is also helpful to browse your purchases online so you can avoid needing to sort through options while standing in the aisle.

Party Precautions: Whether for work or with family and friends, many people will attend a party during the holiday season. Being in a room full of people can expose you to numerous germs but there may be another source of illness you aren't aware of. The buffet. Many parties feature a buffet as an easy method of feeding large numbers of people. However, once food has sat at room temperature for more than two hours, the bacteria level may be high enough to cause food-borne illnesses. Be sure to grab your food early on or only take items being kept hot or cold adequately.

Hands Off: This time of year germs tend to be everywhere. They can be on railings, counters, door handles, or someone else's hand. It's important to wash your hands more frequently this time of year to help prevent the spread of germs. Be sure to scrub for 20 seconds under warm water with soap to kill any germs that find their way onto your hands. Also, it is important to avoid touching your face. Any germs that make their way onto your hands won't infect you unless they get into your mouth, eyes or nose. So do as your mother told you and keep your hands to yourself to prevent illness!

Simplify to Avoid Stress: No matter how much you prepare; the holidays can be a crazy time of year. Between cooking, cleaning, shopping and entertaining, your stress levels are bound to rise before your family or friends even arrive. This stress can make you sick by altering your immune system, making you more susceptible to getting sick. Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep and remove unnecessary stress to make your holidays more enjoyable. If it's the meal that usually causes the most stress, suggest a potluck for your holiday meal this year.

Prioritize Sleep: Although no one wants to admit it, the holiday season can be downright exhausting. You spend weeks preparing and when the day arrives you want to spend every minute you have with your family and friends. This tends to lead to late nights and early mornings. Unfortunately, getting back into your normal sleep schedule isn't always easy. Limiting your sleep during the holidays can leave you vulnerable to illness, leaving you too weak to fight off unwanted germs.

The holidays are a time to enjoy with your family and friends do don't let illness get the best of you. Following these tips and getting your flu shot can help you stay happy and healthy this holiday season!