Published on December 20, 2020

Family snuggling with their feet by the fire.

Tips for a safe and healthy holiday season and new year

You can help your family create lasting memories – even during a pandemic – when you make safe and healthy choices. The 12 tips below, shared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can help keep spirits high, slow the spread of flu and COVID-19, and prevent unexpected injuries or accidents, this holiday season and beyond.

  • Wash your hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. It’s flu season and a we’re in the midst of a pandemic. Take time to wash your hands frequently with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Get outside and enjoy winter in Wisconsin. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm layers; gloves; hats; scarves and waterproof boots.
  • Manage stress. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out, overwhelmed and out of control. Some of the best ways to manage stress are to find support, connect socially and get plenty of sleep.
  • Don’t drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Anyone who chooses to drive drunk puts everyone on the road in danger. Choose not to drink and drive, and help others do the same.
  • Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Smokers have greater health risks because of their tobacco use, but nonsmokers also are at risk when exposed to tobacco smoke.
  • Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Make sure you buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip, and insist that your passengers do the same. Always buckle your children in a vehicle using a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt in a fashion that is appropriate for their height, weight and age.
  • Get medical exams and health screenings. Ask your health care provider about the exams you need and when to get them. Update your personal and family history. Health care providers have taken extra steps to keep people safe in clinics and hospitals during the pandemic, so don’t skip or avoid care you may need.
  • Get your vaccinations. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot each year. Seek information about the COVID-19 vaccine and get it when it becomes available to you. Vaccines protect you and also those around you.
  • Keep an eye on children. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items and other objects out of the reach of children. Accidents happen fast. Take steps to keep children safe and protect them from burns, falls and other accidents.
  • Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, candles or food cooking on stoves unattended. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly.
  • Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: Wash your hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures and refrigerate foods promptly. You’ll want to savor the tastes of the season without becoming ill.
  • Eat healthy and stay active. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which pack nutrients and help lower the risk for certain diseases. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt and sugar. Also, make sure you are active for at least 2½ hours a week. Help children and teens be active for at least one hour a day.

If you or a family member needs to schedule care at a ProHealth Medical Group clinic during the holiday season, you can make an appointment using MyChart or contact your health care provider’s office.

Urgent care services can be reserved online at ProHealthCare.org/UrgentCare, and if you have emergent health care needs, the ProHealth emergency departments in Mukwonago and at ProHealth Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital and ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital are open 24/7.