Monday, December 16, 2019 - Staying Healthy During the Holidays

No one likes feeling sick -- especially not during the holidays. Here are a few tips to keep you and your family healthy through the New Year. Remember it is the Holidays, spread nothing but good will and happiness!  

Wash your hands frequently
The most important way to reduce the spread of infections is hand washing. Soap and water and friction (rubbing hands together and under nails) for 20 seconds.  Twenty seconds is longer than you think (try singing Happy Birthday or saying your ABC’s out loud).  If your hands are visibly dirty or you completed a “dirty” task (bathroom, changing a baby’s diaper, taking out the trash, etc.) always wash with soap and water.  If you are worried about the surfaces you just touched or hands you just shook, use a hand sanitizer. 
Get a vaccinated – especially influenza
Remember vaccines work by stimulating your body to create antibodies to fight the viruses.  It takes about 10 days for the body to produce enough antibodies to help ward off the illness. 

Stay home if you are sick (so you don’t spread illness to other people)
People with viral infections as well as bacterial infections shed or spread the “germs” to other people even before they are showing signs and symptoms, generally 48 hours prior to symptoms.  Once symptoms arrive, you can spread the infection for an additional 5 – 7 days.  If sick with an influenza like illness, it is a good rule of thumb is to stay away from crowds, school, church, or even visiting the hospital for a minimum of 5 days and only if you have been symptom free (including no fever) for the last 24 hours.  If you have been in close contact and/or taking care of a sick individual, remember, better to be safe than sorry and stay away from crowds for about 48 hours post exposure.

Use a tissue or cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hands.  Turn away from other people.
Most virus are spread by aerosols or small droplets that are released while you cough.  If people are within 3 to 4 feet of you they can breathe in the germs and can become infected. Also the virus can land on surfaces; then contaminate hands, and our hands can then touch mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, and mouth passing on the infection in this manner.

Use single-tissues and dispose of them immediately, do use not handkerchiefs.

If working with children, have them play with hard surface toys that can be wiped down with soap and water or an alcohol disinfectant.

Do not share cups, glasses, dishes, cutlery, or make-up.

Food Handling
Defrosting the turkey should be done in a pan inside the refrigerator; this may take 24 hours longer, but it decreases the chances of spoilage. Remember to thoroughly rinse fresh vegetables prior to both cooking and eating raw. Also, it is best to rinse poultry thoroughly prior to cooking as well.