Back to Top Skip to main content

Four tips for staying healthy this holiday season

The simple act of washing your hands will decrease the risk of illness for you and your family this holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michelle Gigante) The simple act of washing your hands will decrease the risk of illness for you and your family this holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michelle Gigante)

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Integrative Wellness | Mental Wellness

The Military Health System can’t guarantee you’ll have a holly, jolly holiday season. But following these health and wellness tips may help make this the best time of the year.

Wash your hands. 

It’s simple but powerful advice, not only to avoid getting sick but to avoid spreading germs, said Dr. Terry Adirim, a pediatric emergency physician and deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Health Services Policy and Oversight.

“At the very least, you should wash your hands before handling food, before eating, and after using the bathroom,” she said. Other activities that call for hand-washing afterward include changing a diaper, caring for someone who’s sick, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands, and touching a pet or other animal.

For the most effective technique, Adirim passed along this advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC: Turn on the tap to wet hands – cold water works as well as warm – then turn it off. Apply soap, and rub your hands together to create lather. Keep at it long enough to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while scrubbing the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Turn the water back on to rinse off the soap, and then dry.

Keep food hot, or cold. 

Temperature plays a critical role in preventing the bacteria and viruses that cause foodborne illnesses, said Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Donald Smith, a Veterinary Corps food safety officer with the Defense Health Agency.

Smith recommends using a food thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and other cooked foods is high enough to kill germs. For both hot and cold foods in the holiday spread, make sure any leftovers are stored in the refrigerator in airtight containers within two hours, he said.

Limit drinking. 

“Alcohol should be something you perhaps enjoy for a special occasion,” such as a glass of champagne to ring in the New Year or a glass of wine with a holiday meal, said Army Maj. Kathryn Berryman, a physician at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. But too much alcohol can lead to risky behaviors that endanger well-being, such as getting behind the wheel or engaging in unprotected sex.

Too much alcohol also leads to long-term health problems including heart disease and cancer. “The more you drink, the more quickly you become physically dependent and also build a tolerance,” Berryman said.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, or NIAAA, defines one drink as 12 ounces of beer with 5 percent alcohol content, 5 ounces of wine with 12 percent alcohol content, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits with 40 percent alcohol content.

According to the NIAAA, low-risk drinking for men is no more than four drinks on a single day, and no more than 14 drinks per week. For women, it’s three drinks on a single day, and seven drinks per week. The numbers for women are lower because body composition and other factors typically cause women to feel the effects of alcohol more quickly than men.

Low-risk drinking doesn’t mean no risk, according to the NIAAA. People who stick to these guidelines still may have problems if they drink too quickly, have other health concerns, or are older than 60. Also, mixing alcohol with prescription and over-the-counter medications can be deadly.

Take a walk in the woods.

Exercise burns calories and helps clear the mind, and being around nature may be an added boost. Patricia Deuster, director of the USU Consortium for Health and Military Performance, is lead investigator of a team of researchers exploring whether nature has healing powers.

“I’ve always relieved my stress by going outside,” said Deuster, a nationally ranked marathoner, skydiver, and former tennis pro. “I spend time in nature every day. I know how healing it is for me, how it makes me relax and forget about all the stressful stuff.”

You also may be interested in...

MSMR Vol. 10 No. 4 – July/August 2004

Report
1/1/2004

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Human immunodeficiency virus, type 1 (HIV-1), antibody screening among active and reserve component soldiers and civilian applicants for military service, 1985-June 2004; Completeness and timeliness of reporting hospitalized notifiable conditions, active duty service members, U.S. Army medical treatment facilities, 1995-2003; Completeness and timeliness of reporting hospitalized notifiable conditions, active duty service members, U.S. Naval medical treatment facilities, 1998-2003; Completeness and timeliness of reporting hospitalized notifiable conditions, active duty service members, U.S. Air Force medical treatment facilities, 1998-2003; Update: pre- and post-deployment health assessments, U.S. Armed Forces, September 2002-July 2004; Sentinel reportable events; Brucellosis in a soldier who recently returned from Iraq; ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 10 No. 3 – May/June 2004

Report
1/1/2004

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Fractures among members of active components, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2003; Frequencies and characteristics of medical evacuations of soldiers by air (with emphasis on non-battle injuries), Operations Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF), January-November 2003; Update: pre- and post-deployment health assessments, U.S. Armed Forces, September 2002-April 2004; ARD surveillance update; Sentinel reportable events.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 10 No. 2– April 2004

Report
1/1/2004

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Hospitalizations among active component members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2003; Ambulatory visits among active component members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2003; Estimates of absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries, U.S. Armed Forces, 2003; Update: Pre- and post-deployment health assessments, U.S. Armed Forces, September 2002-March 2004; Sentinel reportable events, calendar year 2003; Sentinel reportable events, April 2004.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 10 No. 1– January/February 2004

Report
1/1/2004

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Leishmaniasis, U.S. Armed Forces, 2003; Malaria among active duty soldiers, U.S. Army, 2003; Update: pre- and post-deployment health assessments, U.S. Armed Forces, September 2002-December 2003; ARD surveillance update; Sentinel reportable events; Reportable events, calendar year 2003.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

DoD Directive 6490.5 on Combat Stress Control Programs

Policy

MSMR Vol. 9 No. 7 – November/December 2003

Report
1/1/2003

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Tears of cruciate ligaments of the knee, U.S. Armed Forces, 1990-2002; Cold weather injuries, active duty, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2003; Update: pre- and post-deployment health assessments, U.S. Armed Forces, September 2002-September 2003; Sentinel reportable events; ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 9 No. 6 – September/October 2003

Report
1/1/2003

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Incidence, severity, and trends of pneumonia/influenza and acute respiratory failure/pulmonary insufficiency, U.S. Armed Forces, January 1990-June 2003; Carbon monoxide poisoning, U.S. Armed Forces, January 1998-June 2003; Update: pre- and post-deployment health assessments, U.S. Armed Forces; ARD surveillance update; Active duty force strength by medical treatment facility locations, U.S. Army.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 9 No. 5 – July/August 2003

Report
1/1/2003

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Human immunodeficiency virus, type 1 (HIV-1), antibody screening among active and reserve component soldiers and civilian applicants for military service, 1985-June 2003; Completeness and timeliness of reporting of hospitalized notifiable conditions, active duty service members, U.S. Army medical treatment facilities, 1995-2002; Completeness and timeliness of reporting of hospitalized notifiable conditions, active duty service members, U.S. Naval medical treatment facilities, 1998-2002; Completeness and timeliness of reporting of hospitalized notifiable conditions, active duty service members, U.S. Air Force medical treatment facilities, 1998-2002; Pre- and post-deployment health assessments, U.S. Armed Forces, September 2002-July 2003; ARD Surveillance Update; Sentinel Reportable Events.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 9 No. 4 – May/June 2003

Report
1/1/2003

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Heat-related injuries, U.S. Army, 2002; Syncope, active duty, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2002; Pre-and post-deployment health assessments, U.S. Armed Forces, September 2002- June 2003; ARD Surveillance Update; Sentinel Reportable Events; Correction: Sentinel Reportable Events.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 9 No. 3 – April 2003

Report
1/1/2003

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Hospitalizations among active duty members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2002; Ambulatory visits among active duty members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2002; Relative burdens of selected illnesses and injuries, U.S. Armed Forces, 2002; Reportable medical events, U.S. Armed Forces, 2002; Characteristics, demographic and military, U.S. Armed Forces, 2002; Acute respiratory disease surveillance, U.S. Army.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 9 No. 2– February/March 2003

Report
1/1/2003

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Vaccine preventable diseases, active duty, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2002; ARD Surveillance Update; Pre-deployment medical evaluation forms, U.S. Armed Forces, 1996-2003; Sentinel Reportable Events.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 9 No. 1– January 2003

Report
1/1/2003

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Malaria among active duty soldiers, U.S. Army, 2002; Mortality Trends among Active Duty Military Personnel, 1992-2001; ARD Surveillance Update; Reportable events, calendar year 2002; Sentinel Reportable Events, calendar year 2002.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 8 No. 8 – November/December 2002

Report
1/1/2002

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Alcohol disorders among active duty members, U.S. Armed Forces, January 1998 - March 2002; Frequency and nature of exposure concerns following recent major deployments: analyses of post-deployment questionnaire responses, October 1998 - July 2002; Legionnaires’ disease in a laboratory worker at a medical treatment facility, September 2002; ARD surveillance update and Sentinel reportable events.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 8 No. 7 – September/October 2002

Report
1/1/2002

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Cold weather injuries among active duty soldiers, U.S. Army, January 1997-July 2002; Cellulitis among active duty service members, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2001; Installation specific lost duty time reports: hospitalization and ambulatory encounters at the installation level - overall experience of the U.S. Army, August 2002; Sentinel reportable events; Varicella among active duty soldiers, U.S. Army, October 1999-September 2002; and ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 8 No. 6 – August 2002

Report
1/1/2002

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Incidence rates and correlates of risk of herpes zoster, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2001; Rates and patterns of readmission after discharge from U.S. military hospitals, 2001; Sentinel reportable events; ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health
<< < ... 16 17 18 19 20  ... > >> 
Showing results 286 - 300 Page 20 of 25

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing: Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.