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12 Steps to the Best Holiday Gift: Health

Give yourself and your loved ones the gifts of health and safety this holiday season, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests.

The agency outlines 12 ways to do that, beginning with a reminder that washing your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds helps prevent the spread of germs. That precaution is particularly important as the Omicron variant surges across the United States and the flu season returns.

Here are some other recommendations from the CDC:

  • When heading outside, wear appropriate clothing such as light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves and waterproof boots.
  • Manage stress by seeking support, connecting with others and getting plenty of sleep.
  • Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let others drink and drive.
  • Use seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle, and 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.
  • Don’t smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke. Smokers have greater health risks, but nonsmokers are also at risk when exposed to tobacco smoke.
  • Get health exams and screenings. Ask your health care provider what exams/screenings you need and when to get them. Update your personal and family history.
  • Get required vaccinations, which help prevent diseases and save lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year.
  • Keep children safe by placing potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items and other objects out of their reach. Protect them from drowning, burns, falls and other potential accidents.
  • Think about fire safety. Don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, candles or food cooking on stoves unattended. Have an emergency fire plan and practice it regularly.
  • Ensure food safety by washing hands and surfaces often, avoiding cross-contamination, cooking foods to proper temperatures and refrigerating leftovers promptly.
  • Eat healthy and stay active. Eat fruits and vegetables and limit portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt and sugar. Adults should get at least 2½ hours a week of physical activity, and children and teens should be active for at least 1 hour a day.

More information

For more on holiday safety, go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release

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