Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quick Guide to Holiday Health

Already stressed about the holidays? Check these quick tips to make sure you stay safe and enjoy the season:

Did you know it’s not safe to leave raw or cooked turkey (or any perishable food) at room temperature for more than two hours? Otherwise, you’re creating the perfect conditions for dangerous bacteria to multiply rapidly. A woman in Missouri recently died and several others got sick from E. coli apparently contracted from a Thanksgiving meal. Check out these food safety tips to keep you and your guests healthy this holiday season.

Looking for last-minute gifts? This Massachusetts Department of Health blog has some fitness-related gift ideas, especially for those who want to be more healthy and active in the new year.

December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. There have also been a lot of car accidents in recent storms. Whether you’re traveling for the holidays or not, drive safely this holiday season.

Remember that winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous. Prepare your home and cars. Keep emergency kits stocked. Be ready for power outages. Wear appropriate clothing. Check on children, the elderly and pets.

Follow these steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Don't use a gas-powered generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gas or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window or door. Generators should be more than 15 feet from your home when running.
  • Don't run a car, truck or any other motor inside a garage or other enclosed space, even if you leave the door open.
  • Don't try to heat your house with a gas oven.
  • Make sure you have a CO detector with a battery back-up in your home near where people sleep. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. You can buy an alarm at most hardware stores or stores that sell smoke detectors. By law, all rental units must have a CO alarm—talk to your landlord if you don’t have one in your apartment or rental house.
  • If your CO alarm goes off, get out of the house right away and call 911. Get prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous.

US CDC has lots of other tips for staying healthy this holiday season, including a song.

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