Physician Tips for a Safe and Sane Season
The holidays can bring a wide range of traditions for most families, and not all of them are good for your health.
While you may want to indulge in some Christmas cookies or extra creamy hot cocoa, and decorating is high on the to-do list, things can go sideways fast if you’re not careful. But take heart, there are measures you can follow to ensure a safe and sane holiday season. Here are some recommendations from two physicians at NorthBay Health Primary Care in Vacaville, Family Medicine Specialist Rajdeep Kular, M.D. and Pediatrician Eleen Zarebidaki, M.D.:
1. Get there safely!
If you’re driving this holiday season – whether across town or across country, pay attention to the roadway. Make sure you and your passengers are strapped in. And if you’ve indulged with an alcoholic beverage, don’t drive. For long trips, make sure you get plenty of rest and stay hydrated, said Dr. Kular. If you’re traveling on an airplane, bus or BART, you might want to take along a mask and hand sanitizer. Even though COVID-19 is no longer considered a public health emergency, there are new strains and still plenty of germs out there, so play it safe.
And speaking of germs, if your child or a relative has a cold or flu, minimize contact with others, as hard as that may be, noted Dr. Zarebidaki. Remember that flu shots can lower you and your family’s chances of getting sick this winter.
3. Dinner danger?
If a big meal is a given in your family, there’s no getting around it. But you don’t have to take large portions of everything. Start with a small, sampler plate. “Rest a while and focus on conversation before you go back for seconds – if you go back for seconds,” said Dr. Kular. “Remember, if dessert is involved, pace yourself.”
4. Get moving!
A great option after a big meal is a planned activity. “Why not get the family to take a casual 30-minute walk around the neighborhood? Or if the weather is nice and the family is athletically inclined, take a hike,” said Dr. Kular. “There are a lot of great places to hike around Solano County with great views. Share some laughs and reconnect. Or, if you’re really ambitious, go to the gym. Why not get a head start on your resolutions? No one said you have to wait until January.”
5. Tinsel time?
Decorating can be a lot of fun, but it can also pose serious risks – especially if you’re using a ladder and reaching great heights. Don’t do it alone – make sure you have a ladder spotter. If you choose a fresh tree, be sure to keep it watered, because trees that dry out are fire hazards. Also be mindful about what you put on the tree and under the tree, noted Dr. Zarebidaki. “So many ornaments have little pieces that can break off and be choking hazards. And then there’s the ornaments that actually look like candy! Hang those high up and away from little hands.” Also watch out for toys that come with little pieces that are choking hazards, she added, as well as batteries.
6. Stretch it out!
The holiday can be especially magical when you have little ones in your home. But all the excitement can prove to be overstimulating – for you and the kiddos. “You don’t have to do it all at once,” said Dr. Zarebidaki. “Pace yourself with activities and festivities and find little sparks of joy throughout the holiday.”
All of us at NorthBay Health wish you and your loved ones a happy and safe holiday season! Established NorthBay Health Primary Care patients can schedule appointments or send messages to their provider through the patient portal, or reach them by calling (707) 646-5500.