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12 Ways to Have a Healthy Holiday Season

Group of people with snowmanTake steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

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.

  1. Wash hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. It's flu season. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots. At home, work, and on the road, be prepared and prevent injuries too.
Family of three, bundled up and smiling

Cold temperatures can cause health problems. Remember to protect you and your family this season by dressing in layers of light, warm clothing.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 insurance from the Health Insurance Marketplace if you are not insured.
  4. Get your vaccinations, which help prevent various diseases and save lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. Besides the flu vaccine, adults should get other vaccines too.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: Wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, and cook foods to proper temperatures and refrigerate them promptly.
  8. Eat healthy, 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 2½ hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.

Be inspired to stay in the spirit of good health! Listen to The 12 Ways to Health  Holiday Song or a holiday health podcast.

To show someone you care about their health, send a holiday health e-card:

  • Page last reviewed: December 1, 2014
  • Page last updated: December 1, 2014
  • Content source:
    • CDC Office of Women's Health
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
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