The holiday season is near, which means happiness, cheer, and hacking up a lung or two are definitely in your near future because, in all these super intimate tidings of comfort and joy, family and friends tend to lose all concept of personal space. Not to be a total Grinch, but germs are a little too close for comfort around the holiday season, and all I’m saying is, it just takes one hello kiss, goodbye embrace, or passing of a plate someone touched with dirty fingers to catch a cold.
Need I remind you that the holiday season only comes around once a year? Chances are, if you catch any sort of bug, be it a nasty stomach virus, stubborn cold, or worse, the flu, the most wonderful time of the year is bound to be anything but. Ergo, air-hug, blow kisses, lather up the Purell instantly after enduring one of Uncle Joe’s handshakes — do whatever you have to in order to stay healthy, because the less germs that are lingering in the air, the better.
1.) GET THE FLU SHOT
“I always recommend getting the flu shot because it is one of the best ways to decrease your chances of getting the flu,” Kennedy tells Elite Daily. Even if you’ve already had the flu this season, she says, getting the shot can help “decrease the amount of time that you feel unwell.”
Basically, unless you have an allergy to the shot, or there’s some other health reason that prevents you from doing so, the flu shot is highly recommended.
2.) WASH YOUR HANDS THE *RIGHT* WAY
Chances are you’re probably washing your hands incorrectly, too, and as far as Dr. Kennedy is concerned, you’re going to want to correct this hygiene habit ASAP to prevent illness over the holidays.
“The most common way to pass germs is through touching objects with germs on them or being in contact with someone who is sick,” she tells Elite Daily. “To wash your hands properly, wet them, lather for 20 seconds, and then rinse.”
3.) FILL YOUR PLATE WITH A TON OF FRUITS AND VEGGIES
Listen, you don’t have to tell me how tempting it is to skip any and everything green at a celebratory feast, and indulge in the decadent treats instead, like sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce. However, everything in moderation, my friend. You can still enjoy all the festive goodies the holiday season has to offer, but if you want to keep your immunity up it’s best to eat at least some fruits and veggies here and there.
4.) CUT BACK ON CAFFEINE
Did I just hear you gasp through my computer screen? I know, I KNOW — but don’t blame me, I’m just the messenger. Caffeine might give you that extra jolt of energy you need to be here, there, and everywhere this holiday season, but Glatter says that too much caffeine can cause dehydration, which can totally destroy your immune system.
5.) MAKE SURE YOU’RE GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP
Between traveling to and from your relatives’ houses, hostessing your own soirées, and fighting crowds at the malls for the best products to gift, you’re going to need a ton of energy over the holiday season. Sleep is imperative for that reason; plus, getting the recommended six to eight hours of shut-eye will help keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
“It’s important to slow down and get enough sleep as the holidays approach. Lack of sleep has an adverse effect on your immune system, and places you at higher risk for developing both viral and bacterial infections.”
Credit: JULIA GUERRA