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As Christmas approaches, many of us look forward to spending more time with friends and family. Surrounded by loved ones, sharing food, drink and gifts, the festive season should be a happy time for all.
Save for the odd family disagreement, most of us don’t tend to worry too much about the holidays, but unfortunately there is an increased health risk for many of us.
Prior knowledge can always help to avoid these issues, so in the spirit of a happy holiday, here are some of the main health risks to be aware of.
If you’re doing the cooking this year, you don’t want your guests spending their boxing day with food poisoning. Turkey is the biggest culprit for Christmas food poisoning, so make sure it’s fully defrosted and fully cooked through (use an electric thermometer) before serving.
Don’t wash it either, as that can spread harmful bacteria around the rest of the kitchen.
The average Christmas calorie consumption comes in at 7,000 (recommended is 2000 for women and 2500 per day for men). This overconsumption (and the rich food) can easily lead to heartburn and constipation, not to mention the added weight gain.
Opt for vegetables and protein (Turkey meat is actually very lean), over carbs, fats and sugars. A winter walk before or after dinner not only helps with digestion but will help burn a few extra calories.
Trips and falls increase during the winter, thanks to the cold weather and icy pavements.
Wear sensible footwear, and be especially careful on nights out – especially if you’re wearing high heels.
Not only that, but if you’re out drinking more alcohol than normal, this can be a lethal combination.
Increase road usage and hazardous weather conditions leads to an increase in road traffic accidents over Christmas. Drink driving is also a very serious issue.
Stay sober and stick to water, juice or soft drinks to avoid causing serious injury to you and others.
Don’t forget that alcohol will still be in your system if you’ve got places to be the next morning – so make alternative travel plans.
Unfortunately winter colds and flu viruses are extremely common during the colder season. They can often be unavoidable, but to alleviate the chances of catching a bug, get plenty of sleep, stay warm and wash your hands. It’s always worth getting a flu jab, available on the NHS or under a health insurance plan.
Chrismas tree lights can be especially dangerous on a tree, especially if they haven’t been stored properly over the past year.
Tinsel is also extremely dangerous if it catches alight, so keep it away from Christmas candles.
If you’re giving or receiving electrical gifts this Christmas, make sure you’re aware of the safety instructions before use.
Many people also overload their plug sockets with additional appliances such as lights; this is something which is best avoided, opting to go without certain electricals or choosing a batter-operated option.
Christmas the New Year can be especially lonely for many people, particular for those struggling with ddepression
If you’re able to, surround yourself with friends and loved ones who can support you. If needs be seek professional medical help or speak with a mental health charity like MIND.
1 in 8 people expect to be paying off Christmas through January; relying on credit fro food, drink and gifts can be difficult. Setting and budget and being open and honest with loved ones about what you can afford is key at this time of year.
This debt and the feeling of needing to have a certain type of Christmas can lead to serous financial difficulty and increasing stress.
Family issues and aforementioned financial difficulties can be exacerbated over Christmas.
Try to stay relaxed and avoid stressful situations, and remember that drinking alcohol, while it may seem to help, can often just aid in bottling up stress for further complications in the future.
This can be a serious issue for many over the holiday season; increased social events with family, friends and work colleagues can start as early as November.
Be aware of what you’re drinking and how much, stay hydrated with water and remember that alcohol remains in your system the next day.
Avoid choking hazards by ensuring gifts for children are age appropriate.
Another danger for kids can be glass baubles, particularly if they fall and shatter, and things such as garlands and tinsel can be strangulation hazards for smaller children.
Joanne Simpson writes on behalf of Embrace Health Today – providing private medical insurance quotes for people in the UK.