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MIND & BODY: 12 ways to have a healthy holiday season

Brighten the holidays by making your health and safety a priority. Take steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy — and ready to enjoy the holidays.

Wash hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.

Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves and waterproof boots.

Manage stress. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out, overwhelmed and out of control. Some of the best ways to manage stress are to find support, connect socially and get plenty of sleep.

Don’t drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger. Choose not to drink and drive and help others do the same.

Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Smokers have greater health risks because of their tobacco use, but nonsmokers also are at risk when exposed to tobacco smoke.

Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your children in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt according to their height, weight and age. Buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip and encourage passengers to do the same.

Get exams and screenings. Ask your health care provider what exams you need and when to get them. Update your personal and family history.

Get your vaccinations. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year.

Monitor children. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items and other objects out of children’s reach. Protect them from drowning, burns, falls and other potential accidents.

Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, food cooking on stoves or candles unattended. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly.

Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: Wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures and refrigerate foods promptly.

Eat healthily and stay active. Eat fruits and vegetables, which pack nutrients and help lower the risk for certain diseases. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt and sugar. Also, be active for at least 2.5 hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least one hour a day.

Clark County Health Department provides programs for the entire family, including WIC, HANDS, family planning and well-child care/immunizations. For more information, call 859-744-4482 or visit www.clarkhealthdept.org.