Preventing Illness Over the Holidays

Posted at 4:06 PM on Dec 5, 2022


The holidays are upon us, and the last thing anyone wants is to be sick when celebrating with our loved ones. Let’s discuss some simple tips on spreading holiday cheer this season, not the germs.

Get Your Flu Shot and COVID-19 Booster 

One of your best defenses against viruses like influenza and COVID-19 is getting vaccinated. You can learn more about the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine and booster by reading “Tis the Season to Vaccinate.” Both are easy to get at the clinic or by walking into almost any pharmacy with little to no wait.


Proper and frequent handwashing is key to preventing the spread of disease-causing germs. We touch our face more times a day than we realize, allowing any germs we have picked up on our hands to easily infiltrate the body through the nose, mouth, and eyes.

Steps for washing your hands:

  • Wet hands with clean running water
  • Add a pea-sized dollop of soap to the hands
  • Lather hands – thoroughly scrubbing between fingers and under fingernails, and don’t forget your thumbs
  • Lathering should take place for about 20 seconds – sing happy birthday twice
  • Rinse hands under clean running water
  • Dry hands with a clean towel and turn off the tap using the towel

If your hands are not visibly soiled, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, but washing hands is the best option to get your hands the cleanest.  

Eating Well

Eating a well-balanced diet can help to prevent illness or decrease the severity of symptoms experienced. When it comes to eating well, keep it simple. Think about loading up on fresh veggies and fruits, as they are loaded with vitamins and minerals that can help our immune systems function at its best. Stick to lean proteins and high-fiber whole grains. Skip the sugar-filled, heavily processed foods.


Get moving! Believe it or not, movement can help us from getting sick. Even as the temperatures drop outside, we still need to make daily activity a priority. With all the available workout videos for free on YouTube, there is simply no excuse not to exercise in the winter. You don’t have to leave your house to get a little sweaty.

Learn more about the importance of physical activity and recommendations here.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is vital for our health. When our bodies are fully hydrated, they function better. Your individual fluid needs depend on many factors, including your health, your activity, and where you live. Fluids can come from all different kinds of drinks, and about 20% come from foods we eat. Start tracking your fluid intake today to ensure you are staying hydrated. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:  

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

Mask Up

Masks are a great way to prevent encountering certain airborne illnesses. When in doubt, mask up, especially if those around you are coughing or appear sick. Masks are also a good idea if you are indoors and in a crowded environment.

Limit Alcohol Intake

With all the holiday parties, it can be tempting to overindulge. However, this will only leave you feeling run down and likely with a headache. Skipping alcohol is the best idea as it has many adverse effects on the body, which you can read more about here. However, if you partake, do your best to enjoy only one drink daily for women and two for men.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season from all of us at Northwest Family Clinics!