Holiday Health Tips For Hypochondriacs

Stay safe, America. (Jose manuel Gelpi diaz)

The most wonderful time of the year has a dark underbelly: germs, bugs and general ickiness that can travel more quickly than Santa’s sleigh. We’re not trying to give you the willies, just suggesting a few easy ways to prevent problems and make your holidays even happier.

Spoiled snacks on the doorstep

Mail-order food gifts are great unless the weather outside is too delightful to keep them cold. Left out too long, even well-packaged perishables such as cheese and cheesecake become frightful. What to do: Open perishables immediately. If food temperature is above 40 degrees, call the company that sent it and don’t eat any. Not even a nibble. Seriously, don’t.

Maladies under the mistletoe

Before you pucker up, consider a cheery note from a British Columbia health department: “Colds, kissing disease [mononucleosis], herpes infection, warts, hepatitis B and meningococcal disease may all be transmitted by kissing.” What to do: Smooch with discretion. (Thinking about warts should help.)

Tummy troubles in tight places

Getting away for the holidays? Norovirus, a.k.a. “winter vomiting disease,” causes more than 20 million cases of gastroenteritis every year. It spreads easily in tight quarters such as hotels, restaurants, airplanes and cruise ships and is often transmitted on uncooked greens, fruit and shellfish. What to do: Wash hands often and don’t share utensils. If someone becomes

ill with nausea or diarrhea, disinfect contaminated surfaces with a bleach solution.

(Hum)bug on the tree

Critters on conifers are harmless and usually remain unnoticed until you haul the tree to the curb, but a few mites, spiders or praying mantids might hop off or hatch and stay awhile. What to do: Before taking a tree inside, shake it to get rid of loose bugs and remove obvious eggs and nests. Don’t spray with insecticide – it’s flammable.

Flu in the air

Influenza viruses thrive in late fall and early winter and spread from person to person through the air, particularly cold, dry air. Family gatherings, holiday crowds and even Santa’s lap provide plenty of transmission opportunities. What to do: Steer clear of coughing commuters, sneezing shoppers and ailing aunts. Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol) is very effective against flu.

Cold viruses on the remote

Are you constantly clicking between football and “A Christmas Story”? A 2011 study found that the TV remote is one of the germiest items in the house. Rhinoviruses, which cause about a third of all colds in adults, can be resistant to hand sanitizer and can survive on hard surfaces for four days. What to do: Wash your hands often, try not to touch your nose or eyes, and if you’re really worried, hide the remote.

Bacteria at the buffet

Nasty bacteria called Clostridium perfringens cause about a million cases of food poisoning each year, and they can flourish in catered foods, especially meats, that sit out a long time. After two hours at room temperature, bacteria in food double every 20 minutes. What to do: At parties, pay attention to how long cooked food has been sitting. At home, refrigerate leftovers within two hours and freeze or toss them after three days.

Lice in Santa’s lid

Pediculus humanus capitis isn’t on anyone’s wish list, but you’re asking for it if you pop Frosty’s old silk hat on your head without knowing where it’s been. Lice don’t hop or fly, so they have to be within crawling distance to hitch a ride. What to do: Wash suspicious items in hot water or seal them in a plastic bag for two weeks before wearing.

Salmonella with stuffing

You don’t have to eat undercooked turkey to get a serving of salmonella. Raw eggs and poultry can leave microbes on utensils, hands and countertops, ready to spread to other food. What to do: Clean and sanitize as you cook. Use an eggnog recipe that requires heating the eggs. And don’t bet on the booze in the eggnog: A 2008 experiment that suggested a 20 percent rum-and-bourbon concentration might kill salmonella was inconclusive.

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Sources: Partnership for Food Safety Education; USDA; CDC; J. Owen Hendley, professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases at the University of Virginia; Penn State University; Rockefeller University via ScienceDaily; Michigan Department of Community Health

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9 Responses to “Holiday Health Tips For Hypochondriacs”

  1. Health Diet Tips To Keep Myself Skinny And Healthy? I am 115lbs and I am 13. I was wondering if anyone had any health tips to keep myself healthy.

    I was looking into this diet where I would start with eating protein and gradually work my way into eating my fruits and vegetables. Does anyone know what this diet is called?

    (Please, No comments with additude. Any other comments will be appreciated. Thanks so much!)
    Also, I don’t want to be on a diet plan (Such as Weight Watchers). Thanks!

    View Comment
  2. Can You Give Me Some Health Tips? I need some health tips. You see I am making a health book. I want to give the world a medical health book. Therefore I need health tips.

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  3. Do These Health Tips Actually Work? 1 apple / day – no doctor
    1 lemon / day – no fat
    1 cup of milk / day – no bone problems
    3 ltrs water / day – no diseases…

    Also what are some losing weight health tips?

    View Comment
    • HealthNut Reply

      No, these health ‘tips’ are actually myths. It’s all very healthy to do that, but no.

      To lose weight, all you can really do is exercise more and eat healthy and try to keep your calories at around 1600 a day. It’s good to drink homemade lemonade that tastes pretty sour and not sweetened very much- it’s good for your metabolism. Tea is good, fruits and vegetables are good. It’s a great time to get active because it’s summer and you’ll sweat more, which is awesome for your body to flush out toxins and such. I like making fruit smoothies and adding spinach or kale (you can’t taste it and it’s so good for your body- not to mention filling). When you snack during the day, only snack on ‘raw’ foods like fruits and vegetables, or maybe a few almonds.

      Good luck!

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  4. What Is The Best Health Advice You’ve Given Or Received? We could probably all use a few health tips to live a better life, what do you want to share?

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    • HealthNut Reply

      Limit processed foods

      try to eat as much natural food as you can such as vegetbales, fruit, brown rice, wholemeal-grain bread, fish, chicken, nuts, and healthy fats.

      Not only do you look better but you feel better both body and mind

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  5. Anyone Have Some Good Tips For A College Student Who Wants To Lose About 35 Pounds? Basically Im pretty lethargic due to the studying….I do a fair bit of walking and I dont eat fast food more than a coupla times a month, but I seem to keep gaining weight. Basically I need some health tips or some way of beginning to get rid of the buddha belly.

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    • HealthNut Reply

      As a fellow student, I understand your struggle. My butt feels constantly glued to a seat and I don’t have the time or attention for planning healthy meals. It’s tough but I manage to control my weight and even lose weight every now and then with some pretty easy tactics. Since you want to lose it, you’ll have to get serious. I would highly recommend cardio workouts. Depending on your fitness level and personal tastes you could try at home workouts like Tae Bo or you can hit the gym (in which case walking or jogging on the tredmill mixed with weights would be effective). Basically, make yourself workout even when you feel tired from studying or a long day. Next thing you know, you’ll look forward to the stress relief. Remember to watch what you eat and consider counting calories…you may be surprised how much you eat daily! Get sleep. Lack of sleep stresses the bod out and you may compensate with food. And you definitely will have less energy for workouts. GOOD LUCK!

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