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12 days of holiday health: PHSA’s guide to your healthiest holiday

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Amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be easy to put your health on hold. Read on for top health tips from the Provincial Health Services Authority.

​It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but amid all that holiday cheer – the parties, shopping, cooking, cleaning and entertaining – stress can run high. Let PHSA help you have your healthiest holiday yet, with 12 tips from our agencies to stay safe, strong and sane this December and into the New Year.

BC Women’s Hospital says…choose healthier options for your baby. If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, choose sparkling apple juice, water and/or virgin cocktails and nog for a healthier pregnancy outcome. Avoiding alcohol, especially in the first trimester, is a recognized way to help prevent physical and developmental disabilities in newborns.  

With all the merry-making, BC Renal Agency says…skip the salt. Minimize high-sodium foods at the holiday buffet such as salted nuts and cured meats, and try adding lemon juice, garlic, herbs and spices to season foods instead of salt. 

The holidays can cause stress, anxiety and depression. BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services says…reach out if you need support. If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-784-2433. Calm your kids’ nerves by practicing mindfulness techniques from Kelty Mental Health. 

It’s the season of giving and BC Transplant says…give the gift of life. Consider joining the 1,044,908 British Columbians who have registered their decision in the Organ Donor Registry and register yours  online at www.transplant.bc.ca

Long weekends and low temperatures make for busy, icy roads. BC Emergency Health Services says…drive like your life depends on it. When the weather worsens, so do road conditions – but many collisions can be avoided with a little extra precaution. Judge the necessity – is it absolutely crucial that you travel? Check Drive BC for road and weather conditions and alerts before you go, and always reduce your speed.

It’s party season and BC Cancer Agency says…think before you drink. Even sustained light drinking can increase your risk of cancer, but many people will indulge in alcoholic beverages in the coming weeks. Don’t feel pressured to drink if you don’t want to – volunteer to be the designated driver, or hold a drink that looks like alcohol in your hand to save well-meaning hosts from offering you more. 

BC Children’s Hospital says…buy age-appropriate toys. When purchasing gifts, pay attention to age recommendations and labelling on toys. Many toys have small parts that children may swallow or choke on. Dispose of broken toys, popped balloons and plastic wrap, and keep toys for older children away from their younger siblings. Our friends at Children’s and Women’s Redevelopment Project stay active and healthy by stretching their legs on the 1km Wellness Walkway around BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre.

Hitting the slopes instead of shops? Trauma Services BC says…protect yourself from head injuries. All skiers and snowboarders should wear an approved, properly fitted ski and snowboard helmet; slow down; be aware of hazards like trees and rocks and ski or board within your level of ability.

During flu season the Provincial Infection Control Network of BC says…protect yourself from colds and flu. Practice good hand hygiene, keep your distance from people who are coughing and sneezing, and if you do get sick, stay home.

Baby, it’s cold outside, but bundling your baby for sleep inside with heavy blankets, toys, pillows or hats can cause your baby to overheat or suffocate. Perinatal Services BC says…keep baby warm but not hot. A light blanket or sleep sack is all your baby needs to stay warm.

Stroke Services BC says…think FAST! Stroke can happen at any time at any age. Learn the signs FAST: Face (is it drooping?); Arms (can you raise both?); Speech (is it jumbled or slurred?) and Time (if all of the above symptoms are present, it’s time to call 9-1-1 right away). 

When cooking your Christmas or holiday feast, BC Centre for Disease Control says…be food safe! Use a probe thermometer to make sure that the internal temperature of meat and stuffing is at least 74C (165F). 

For more holiday health tips, make sure to follow #PHSAHoliday on Twitter and Facebook

Do you have a holiday health tip that works for you? Tweet or post at us using #PHSAHoliday.

 
 
SOURCE: 12 days of holiday health: PHSA’s guide to your healthiest holiday ( )
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