The holidays are a time when we gather with friends and family to celebrate our traditions. When groups of people get together, more than just good cheer can get shared – colds, flu and other illnesses can easily get passed around.
At Central Alabama Urgent Care, we understand that illness and accidents can happen at any time, even during the merriest time of the year. To keep yourself and your family safe and healthy over the holidays, consider incorporating these tips into your holiday routine:
To prevent the spread of germs, be sure to wash your hands often. It’s recommended that you wash every time you go to the bathroom. Use soap and water, scrub for about 15 seconds and be sure to get between your fingers and the tops of your hands.
Also, use hand sanitizer as an extra precaution. Alcohol-based sanitizers are effective at killing almost all germs that spread colds and other illnesses.
Will you be home for the holidays? If you plan on driving, be sure you and your passengers buckle up. If you’re traveling with children, make sure they are in a car seat or booster that is appropriate for their age and weight and that the seat is installed properly. For older children, visually check that they’ve buckled up before you go.
Before your trip, check the weather conditions so you’ll know what to expect on the road. If you’ll be driving through snowy or icy conditions, pack a cold weather emergency kit for your car.
Delicious food and desserts are an integral part of holiday festivities. Bake your goodies safely by following a few cooking safety precautions. Always watch what you are cooking and stay nearby. If you have to leave the kitchen, turn off the burner. Boil liquids and keep other large pots on the back burner of the stove.
Always keep handles of pots and pans turned inward to prevent small children from grabbing them. When using a slow cooker or crockpot, make sure the appliance is pushed away from the edge of the counter and no cords are dangling down within a child’s reach.
During the holidays, when it’s cold and dark outside, nothing is cozier than the warm glow of candles and a crackling fire. Did you know, though, December is the peak time of the year for home candle fires? To prevent a candle fire in your house, never leave lit candles unattended, keep them out of reach of children, and be sure to keep them away from combustible items, such as curtains, Christmas trees and holiday decorations.
If you have either a gas or wood burning fireplace, be sure to keep an area of about three feet around the fireplace clear of anything that can catch fire. Also, before you light your first fire, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional.
Keep your holiday table free from aches and groans by making sure to prepare and serve your food safely. Always wash your hands before preparing food, and use separate cutting boards for raw meat and ready-to-eat food, such as fresh veggies, fruit or bread. For any cutting boards you have used for raw meat, wash them well with soap and water or put them in the dishwasher.
When you’re cooking your Thanksgiving turkey or your Christmas roast, always use a meat thermometer to verify the internal temperature to ensure it is fully cooked.
After everyone has had a chance to eat, drink and be merry, discard any perishable items that have been left out for more than two hours. If your feast includes a buffet or you’re serving large groups of people, the USDA has helpful food safety tips for parties.
Setting out decorations and stringing up the lights are parts of many families’ holiday traditions. But before you pull your ladder out, be sure you know how to use it safely.
Important points to remember: Use a ladder that has slip-resistant feet; always have someone hold the bottom of the ladder; and be sure the ladder is placed on level, firm ground. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has more great ladder safety guidelines to review so you’ll be well-prepared.