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Healthcare 101: Stay Well on the Holiday Party Circuit

Deck the halls, light up the tree… and don’t forget to cover your mouth when you sneeze (preferably into your elbow!). The holiday season has arrived, which means most of us are gearing up for merry gatherings of all types. With all the office holiday parties, social happenings and family celebrations (many involving houseguests) — you’re probably coming into contact with much larger numbers of people. And though more people means more holiday spirit to share, it also means more germs to spread. Isolating oneself is not necessarily a realistic solution with holiday obligations piling up, but you can take measures to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others. Here are a few ways to stay healthy and on your feet this holiday season!

Vaccinations

This one’s a no-brainer. Getting an influenza shot is the best way to avoid getting the flu, or, if contracted, make its symptoms less potent and more manageable. CareSpot provides quick-and-easy flu shots, and we’re open extended hours, including evenings and weekends (hours vary by location) so you have plenty of opportunities to get one! Also, make sure you and your kids are up to date on other vaccinations before you’re exposed to large groups of people over the holidays.

Hygienic Habits

Wash your hands with hot water and soap, frequently. You can be exposed to germs when your hands come into contact with elevator buttons, door knobs, shopping carts, shared office machines, and more. You don’t have to wear rubber gloves or have others open doors for you, but you should wash your hands often when you’re out and about and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when a sink isn’t nearby. For the sake of others, cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow rather than your hands. At home, make sure you sanitize all door knobs and light switches.

Party Hazards

Be cautious about communal foods at holiday parties. It’s a smart idea to take a pass on large bowls of snacks or candy which others are accessing with their hands. You can also use your own silverware or plasticware instead of communal serving utensils. Also be careful not to share cups and glasses with other people!

If you’re hosting a party or meal, make sure any food served buffet-style stays at the proper temperature to decrease chance of food-borne illnesses. The FDA suggests hot foods be kept at 140° F or warmer, and cold foods should remain below 40° F. When handling raw meats, take measures to ensure there’s no cross-contamination (don’t re-use utensils or cutting boards that have been in contact with raw meat). If you’re cooking a holiday bird, do not wash it in the sink (or at all), as this can spread bacteria throughout your kitchen.

Stay Home

If you are sick, the best thing you can do for yourself and others is to stay home. There’s no sense in going to work or trying to fulfill holiday obligations if you’re not well. It’s just putting others at risk of catching your illness and also depriving you of much needed rest to get well.