Person washing hands

Greet the Season, Not the Germs

Nothing says the holidays like lots of togetherness — especially when you’re doing your Christmastime shopping.

Stores stay packed during the early winter months — stacked with people exchanging money, trying on clothes or picking up possible purchases to examine them more closely. As a result, everyone is more likely to encounter germs that can cause viral illnesses, such as the common cold and influenza. Bacterial infections, such as step throat, also reign supreme during the holidays when people gather together — not ideal when you’re preparing for family celebrations.

The good news is you can reduce your risk of contracting pesky winter illnesses by following a few simple rules of thumb.

“The key to avoiding an illness is prevention,” says Christina Holtz, D.O., family medicine physician at Texas Health Family Care, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice. “While shopping, take advantage of wet wipes that are available in most major shopping areas to wipe down carts and your hands. Also be mindful when you cough or sneeze, using a tissue or your elbow to cover your nose and mouth.”

Other helpful hints to stay healthier:

  • Get plenty of rest. Keep your immune system as strong as possible by getting a good night’s sleep. Snuggle up with your favorite quilt and a cup of tea and commit yourself to rest as often as possible in the midst of holiday party season.
  • Keep it to yourself. While the holidays offer lots of opportunities to spread cheer and goodwill by giving to others, there are times when sharing is not ideal. Use your own utensils and avoid drinking after someone else to reduce your risk of catching a wintertime bug.
  • Practice proper hygiene. To minimize contact with germs, wash your hands before eating and avoid touching your face, especially when you are out in a public place such as the grocery store or the mall.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water even when it’s cold outside. Dehydration may cause your body to be more susceptible to illness.

Taking the best care of your body will help you enjoy the holiday season to the fullest.

To find a family physician, visit Texas Health Family Care.

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