During the holiday season, it’s common to be bombarded with invitations to parties, gatherings, reunions, and just about any excuse to get together and enjoy good food and company. However, pushing yourself to overindulge in such activities may have adverse effects on your health and well-being.
Here are some health risks you may experience this Christmas season and ways on how to prevent them so that you can enjoy your holidays to the fullest:
1. Overindulging in food
Eating almost always goes hand-in-hand with holiday festivities. While you fill-up on the lechon, queso de bola, and countless desserts at every chance, your body is taking it all in with little to no rest. This can lead to complications like heartburn, acid reflux, headaches, and eventual weight gain.
Instead of binging like there’s no tomorrow, try eating in smaller portions and selecting healthier options like lean meats and vegetables. If you can, don’t force yourself to eat more than you can out of politeness or respect to the host.
2. Food poisoning
Amidst the holiday rush, food may not be stored, sufficiently cooked, or prepared properly. There may be times when the quality of ingredients you purchased may not be as good, which can lead to food poisoning.
Ensure that the chicken, beef, or pork dishes are cooked thoroughly. Wash raw vegetables and fruits, maintain good cooking hygiene in the kitchen to prevent contamination and ensure observation of proper food temperature during serving and storage. It’s also recommended to avoid leaving food in the refrigerator for too long. Also, reheat leftovers only once and make sure to do it properly.
Aside from overindulging in food, it’s also common to have one too many drinks at a Christmas celebration. Excessive consumption of liquor and other spirits can lead to alcohol intoxication and in more severe cases, alcohol poisoning.
Aside from symptoms like dizziness, nausea, and loss of control over body movements and mental functions, being intoxicated can put you at a higher risk of getting into accidents like falls or cuts. Know your limits and stick to them to manage its effects on you. Refrain from imbibing if you’ll be driving, cooking, operating machinery or equipment, or doing manual labor to avoid putting yourself and others at risk.
4. Holiday blues
While the holidays are meant to be a cheerful time, the sudden barrage of activities and possibly the pressures of holiday expectations—like giving gifts, preparing meals, and inviting relatives—can cause what is known as “holiday blues.” This is usually characterized by feeling more tired than usual, lingering sadness, and having difficulty concentrating.
The best way to battle holiday blues is to remind yourself of things outside of the holiday rush. Take breaks and engage in hobbies and activities that can put your mind at ease. It also helps to seek out loved ones who can offer you help and support.
With the number of preparations, social commitments, and even financial concerns that accompany the Christmas season, it may be challenging to overcome stress. Stress can play a massive role in causing holiday blues and lead to symptoms like anxiety, sleep disorders, headaches, loss of appetite, and poor concentration.
In the long run, stress can make an impact on one’s health, triggering illnesses like heart disease, stroke, and even cancer. Additionally, it can take a toll on your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds, flu, and other infections.
Remember to listen to your body and not overcommit. Getting enough rest and taking vitamins can help boost your immune system. It’s also good to reach out to friends and family to help you out with the preparations.
6. Heart attacks
The combination of holiday stress, unhealthy food, and lack of rest can lead to an increased risk of heart attacks. Studies have shown that heart attack incidents increase by a third during the holidays.
The best way to minimize this risk is to consume food in moderation and avoid overfatigue. If you have a history of heart problems, watch out for symptoms, continue to take any maintenance medication, and inform people immediately if you are experiencing chest pains or other symptoms.
7. Various accidents
With the hustle and bustle surrounding the holiday celebrations, accidents like cuts, burns, falls, and electrocutions are more likely to happen.
Handle all electrical equipment and sharp, pointed tools with caution. Avoid attempting any heavy lifting or manual labor when you’re tired or under the influence of alcohol. Be mindful when handling hot objects or working with a stove, oven, or open flame.
Should an accident occur, knowing the appropriate first aid procedures can minimize the degree of injury. Make sure to have the number for emergency medical services of the nearest health care facility on hand at all times.
At the end of the day, spending time with loved ones and celebrating a year of wonderful memories should be your focus this holiday season. By being mindful of how you celebrate, partying in moderation, and being aware of your body, you can give yourself the gift of good health this Christmas.
Want to make sure your Christmas is merry and bright? Visit Makati Medical Center to address any of your health concerns and celebrate the holidays with peace of mind.