SIMCOE MUSKOKA DISTRICT HEALTH UNIT
The holiday season has officially begun but it doesn’t have to be a vacation from maintaining your health and well-being. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) offers some tips and reminders to help ensure a safer and healthier festive season for you and those you care about.
Seasonal festivities often involve gathering with family and friends to enjoy traditions and special food. Canada’s Food Guide offers some ideas to help you make nutritious choices and ideas for dishes that incorporate plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains and make water your beverage of choice.
When you buy, prepare and store food over the holidays, you can reduce the risk of illness for your family and friends by following simple food safety precautions. Always wash your hands and food preparation surfaces with warm, soapy water. Make sure to separate your raw foods, such as meat and eggs, from cooked foods and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination. Be sure to cook food to the safe internal temperatures. You can check this by using a digital food thermometer.
Staying active during the holidays is good for your overall health and physical activity can help lower stress and releases feel-good hormones. Consider creating holiday traditions that emphasize being active with the whole family.
Some people may choose to consume alcohol and cannabis while celebrating the holiday season. While the safest option is to not consume these substances, you can reduce the risk of potential harms by using in moderation and understanding the health and safety risks. Check out Canada's Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines and Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines for information to help you decide when, where, why and how.
If you drink alcohol and/or use drugs, designate a sober driver, call a taxi or use a ride share service to protect yourself and others on the road. Never drive when you are impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, and do not allow your family members or friends to drive while impaired.
When preparing to gather with friends and family, remember that we are seeing higher than normal rates of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza in our communities, in addition to the ongoing spread of COVID-19 infection. To protect against this ‘triple threat’ of infection and severe illness, the health unit strongly recommends using multiple layers of protection such as staying up to date with vaccinations, staying home when sick, wearing a mask and cleaning high-touch surfaces.
For more information on public health safety during the holiday season visit smdhu.org.