fitness-1Matthew S. Payne, DO, East Falls Primary Clinic

The holidays are an exciting time of year filled with family traditions, festivities and plenty of delicious foods. With it being a busy time of year, sometimes we put our own health on the back burner and forget to take care of ourselves adequately.

Here are 10 tips to help you stay healthy this holiday season.

1. Wash your hands. Wash your hands frequently, especially before preparing meals and eating. Use plenty of friction with soap and water. This is a great way to prevent the spreading of illnesses and keep yourself healthy.

2. Get adequate rest. Don’t try to burn the candle at both ends during the holidays. Get plenty of sleep so you have enough energy to keep focused and enjoy time with family and friends.

3. Refrigerate leftovers and clean cooking surfaces. Avoid food-borne illnesses by refrigerating food immediately after use and sanitizing cooking services, especially after handling raw meats and poultry.

4. Dress for success. It’s important to dress appropriately during the winter months, for outdoor activities. It’s best to dress in several layers.

5. Exercise often. Don’t wait for a New Year’s resolution. Get plenty of exercise now to enjoy the rest of your holiday experience. You will enjoy grandma’s sugar cookies a lot more knowing that you already burned a few calories.

6. Get a flu shot. No, the flu shot can’t give you the flu. Remember, you are not just protecting yourself but helping those at high risk, such as infants, the elderly and those whose immune system may be compromised by another illness.

7. Drink plenty of fluids. This is an easy way to keep your body healthy and invigorated.

8. Don’t worry, be happy. I know it sounds cliché, but keeping stress to a minimum is a great way to keep your immune system healthy.

9. Be courteous. The holiday season is a great time to share gifts and traditions, but don’t share your colds and illnesses. Be courteous to others by staying home, especially if you have a febrile illness. Also, remember to cover your coughs and sneezes. Teach your children to do the same.

10. Eat healthy foods. Give yourself a boost with a healthy diet by eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Those who eat vitamin-rich foods have stronger immune systems.