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Avoid a holiday health crisis

(WXYZ) — Christmas may be over but many of you are still celebrating at holiday parties or family gatherings. And with New Year’s still days away, there is plenty of opportunity for a holiday health crisis to happen.

I really enjoy the holiday season and visiting with my loved ones. But as a practicing physician, I’ve seen my fair share of holiday disasters. So I’d like you to be aware of some potential holiday risks.

Of course the biggest one most people dread is getting sick. With so many people traveling, visiting and shopping, it gives germs plenty of opportunities to get passed around.

Festive stress also tops the health crisis list. Whether it’s financial strain, preparing holiday feasts, cleaning the home for guests, or fatigue from traveling and dealing with family, this can easily lead to burnout.

Also, we’re eating lots of holiday foods, many which aren’t the healthiest choices. And that can make us not feel well or lead to painful heartburn. Add in not enough sleep and a little too much alcohol and you may end up with a weakened immune system.

So to help keep this festive time of the year joyous, here are my prescriptions:

1. If you know your heartburn will flare up, take medication before it starts. That’s usually before you dig into that delicious holiday meal.

2. Be extra diligent about washing your hands because it’s your best defense against germs. If soap and water aren’t nearby, use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol.

3. Pay attention to your body. Heart attacks actually rise during this festive season so if you feel something is off, don’t delay getting medical attention.

4. And to combat stress, please make time just for yourself. Whether that’s reading a book, meditating, or listening to music – the key is to disconnect from the world.

Also, if you’re traveling, don’t forget your medications, check your insurance coverage in case of an emergency and when out of town, know where to go if you or a loved one become sick or injured. With these tips in mind, you can avoid potential pitfalls while enjoying this festive time of the year.