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posted on November 24, 2009 16:42


Stay Safe and Healthy This Holiday Season
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, a time when many people will be traveling to visit family and celebrating with traditional meals. Following a few health and safety tips can help keep the festivities fun and enjoyable.
Protect yourself and others from the flu during holiday travel:
  • Get vaccinated for both seasonal and H1N1 influenza if you are in a recommended group, cover your cough with a tissue or sleeve, and wash your hands often.
  • Travel only when you are feeling well. If you have flu symptoms, wait to travel until at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without using fever-reducing medicines.
Stay safe if you’re driving:
  • Check winter road and weather conditions in Idaho by dialing 5-1-1 or visiting
  • Watch out for ice on the road, especially in shady spots and under bridges, and don’t drive through snow ejected from a snowplow—it can throw your car out of control.
  • Keep your windows, mirrors, and lights clear of snow and ice; check tires, brakes, batteries, fluids, and the heater before you go. Carry emergency supplies in the car.
  • Share travel plans with others and designate a sober driver before going to an event where alcohol is served.
Keep your holiday meals safe:
  • Wash your hands and food preparation surfaces often – especially if you are preparing a salad or other dish that will not be cooked before eating.
  • Make sure food is cooked completely (see table). Use a food thermometer – the color of meat is not a reliable method for determining if it is fully cooked.
  • Rapidly cool foods made ahead of time to 41°F or less within four hours.
  • Don’t keep foods at room temperature for more than four hours.

Minimum cooking temperature
Food Item
Beef, fish, pork
Ground meat
Egg-containing dishes

Be mindful of calories as you celebrate:
  • Eat a light, healthy snack before heading out for your holiday dinner, such as fresh fruit or a small bowl of cereal with low fat milk.
  • Modify recipes to reduce fat and calories. For example, instead of using full-fat dairy products, substitute low-fat milk or part-skim cheese.
  • Limit your alcoholic beverage intake. Alcoholic drinks can add a lot of calories to your meal. Choose water instead.
  • Stay physically active over the holidays. Make it a point to go to the gym. If it’s not too cold, bundle up and go for a walk with your entire family and group of friends with whom you are spending the holidays. Physical activity reduces stress and keeps you in a healthy routine.
Don’t put your health on hold over the holidays. Planning ahead to ensure safe travel and healthy food preparation can ensure a happy, healthy holiday season that everyone will enjoy.