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Healthy for the Holidays Part I

Holidays are a time for closeness; a time for joyful gatherings with family and friends. We’re sharing food, presents, fun and laughter, hugs and kisses—and germs! You may think you’re safe just because you’re not kissing anyone under the mistletoe (does anyone actually do that anymore?), but germs can be passed around far more easily than you may think. A little focus on keeping your immune system strong this time of year may help you have a happy, healthy holiday season in spite of those pesky bugs.

First, viruses actually circulate better in colder weather—which is why colds and flu are more prevalent in the winter months—and when we close off our homes to the nippy air, germs stay bundled in with us. Since we live in the Dallas, Texas area where weather changes often and dramatically, we may go from freezing to mild temperatures literally overnight. When the weather’s warm enough, open windows to let in fresh air, and step outside occasionally. Since we tend to get less sun in the wintertime, making a point to be outside will boost your vitamin D levels and help strengthen your immune system.

“Early to bed, early to rise” makes a person a lot healthier during the holidays. Obviously, when you’re out enjoying parties and other holiday gatherings, “early to bed” may be impossible. But if you want to keep your immune system strong, getting plenty of sleep is key. On the days when you don’t have to be out and about, try to get to bed a bit earlier than usual, and get a catnap on the day of a big event. Just paying a little bit of attention to the amount of sleep you get can pay huge dividends when it comes to staying healthy.

Getting plenty of protein and vitamins this busy time of year is also important to your immune system. If you’re trying to avoid weight gain, you may actually not get enough nutrition to meet your extra energy needs. The same may be true if you overindulge with the idea that you’ll worry about your diet after the holidays are over. When you’re filling up on fat-laden and/or sugary treats, you’re not getting the best nutrition. Whatever your holiday dietary philosophy may be, focusing on meeting your nutritional needs could keep you from getting the unwanted “gift” of a cold or flu from your favorite uncle or best friend.

If, in spite of your best efforts, you do get sick during this holiday season, don’t suffer needlessly. Come to Hillcrest Medical. Since we’re the best place for urgent care in Dallas, we know what to do to get you back enjoying your holidays as quickly as possible!

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