It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so don’t let an illness, injury or accident keep you from celebrating a happy, healthy holiday season with your family and friends. Whether you’re outside shoveling snow or inside preparing
your favorite seasonal dishes, our 12 holiday health and safety tips are sure to help keep the season bright.
Share our holiday safety infographic with your friends and family to spread holiday health tips as well as cheer. Click on the image below
to see our full holiday safety infographic.
As the days get shorter and the temperatures continue to drop during winter, some
people experience depression-like symptoms brought on by seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. SAD is a type of depression that can affect anyone but is most common in people who live in areas where winter days are short and there is a limited supply of sunlight.
Robert Farra, Ph.D., Director of the Adult Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, Department of Psychiatry, answers questions on SAD,
from symptoms to treatment options:
Q: What are the symptoms of SAD?
Q: How many people are affected?
Q: Why do many people experience
depression before the holidays?
Q: How can people combat seasonal depression? Any concrete tips?
Are you affected by the change of the season? What do you do to stay active even with less sunshine?
Worried about catching the flu this season? There are many things you can do to prevent the spread of
the flu—washing your hands regularly, getting adequate sleep, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine—but one of the best is to make sure you get vaccinated.
Fox, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, addresses some of the pervasive myths surrounding the flu and the flu shot to give you your best shot for dodging the bug this season:
Myth: I got the flu shot and got the flu right away. Fact: The flu shot is not 100 percent effective but it is effective. The vaccine reduces a person’s risk of developing significant symptoms by 60%.
Myth: The flu shot is effective immediately. Fact:
It takes a period of two weeks for the flu shot to take effect.
Myth: Only the elderly and young children are affected by the flu. Fact: The elderly and children younger than two (as well as people with
other underlying medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, cerebral palsy, COPD, diabetes, kidney or liver disease) are at highest risk for flu complications. Those with compromised immune systems are also at especially high risk. But, the flu can
strike anyone. Some of the most serious cases can occur in people who were previously healthy.
Myth: People suffering from the flu should always go to the hospital. Fact: Healthy people should take care
of themselves at home: get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and take Tylenol or Advil. Be watchful of other health issues though. If you are suffering from labored breathing or dehydration, you should go to the emergency room.
You should feed a cold and starve a fever. Fact: Maintaining nutrition and staying hydrated is important when you are sick with the flu, so the answer is feed and feed.
Myth: Getting the flu shot once per season
is always adequate. Fact: One flu shot per season is adequate for almost everyone, with the exception of children under nine years old who should get two doses of flu vaccine (separated by four weeks) during the first flu season
they are immunized.
Myth: Flu and cold symptoms are the same. Fact: Flu symptoms include a fever, cough, congestion, chills, fatigue, body aches, and often sore throat and headache. Cold symptoms are fewer in
number, much milder and last just a few days.
Myth: The flu lasts 24 hours. Fact: Children are typically ill 7-10 days but can shed the virus a few days before their symptoms begin and up to 2 weeks after the
start of symptoms. Adults are typically ill 5-7 days but shed the virus 1 day before symptoms begin and usually up to 5 days after the start of symptoms. Some symptoms like fatigue may last for several weeks in kids and adults.
There is no way to protect yourself from the flu. Fact: The flu vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent the flu and to reduce the risk of its complications. Also, thorough and frequent hand washing, avoiding contact with contaminated
surfaces, getting adequate sleep, nutrition and hydration all reduce a person’s flu risks. Being watchful of complications and seeing your doctor if serious symptoms arise (like difficulty breathing and dehydration) reduce your risks of harm. Staying
home when ill with the flu and covering your mouth when coughing also reduces the risks of spread in the community.
It’s not too late to get vaccinated this flu season. Have you had your flu shot?
There is no magic age for when it’s best to transition your toddler from a crib to the “big-kid”
bed. Much of the timing depends on your child’s readiness as well the need to free up the crib for a new little brother or sister. In most cases, toddlers transition to a bed between the ages of 18 months to 3 years.
Whether you are mid-transition
or only in the planning stages, Susan Roth, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, offers helpful tips to make the change a smoother one:
Have questions about transitioning your toddler from a crib to a bed? Join NorthShore's new online community, The Parent 'Hood, to ask and answer questions as well as connect with
our team of medical experts. Check it out here.
This time of year, schedules fill up quickly with special events and gatherings of friends and
family that often involve the consumption of alcohol. Many people drink more often and consume more in these weeks than at any other time during the year and most are not used to assessing their own ability to drive, particularly on winter’s
more dangerous roadways. This all adds up to conditions in which drunk or impaired driving is not only possible and more likely, which is why December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.
A recent study by the U.S. Department of
Transportation showed that DUI arrests peak between Thanksgiving and the end of December, and that the average daily death rate caused by drunk/drugged drivers increases from 36 to between 45 and 54 on Christmas and New Years Eve respectively. In addition,
the Center for Disease Control estimates that 25,000 people will experience injuries during the same period as a result of accidents in which the driver is impaired. These numbers reflect a decline over previous decades, but each incident represents a family
devastated, a son, daughter, husband, wife or friend not returning home.
Ina Sherman, Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor at NorthShore’s
Doreen E. Chapman Center, shares her suggestions for helping to ensure that you and your friends and family celebrate responsibly and that everyone out on the roads reaches their holiday destinations safe and sound:
Do you make sure to designate a driver at each holiday celebration?
Ready or not, the holidays are on their way. Soon millions will flock to airports or hit the highways on the way to celebrations across the country and beyond. Don't let the stress of this season's travel take a toll on your health and holiday
NorthShore University HealthSystem shares some simple holiday travel tips to help you arrive at your destination happy, healthy and ready to celebrate with your friends and family all season long.
For exhausted new parents, it can be a relief when your infant finally settles down to sleep for the night
(or even just a couple of hours) but there can be fear as well. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) can happen even when all the right safety measures are practiced. The exact cause of SIDS is unknown. SIDS is most common in infants less than
six months of age but can occur between one month and one year.
While nothing can prevent every case, there are ways to significantly reduce the risk of SIDS. William MacKendrick, MD, Neonatologist at NorthShore, shares safe sleeping recommendations every parent should practice:
Have your own questions about safe sleeping or another parenting topic? Join the conversation in our new online community:
The Parent 'Hood.
Don’t let your Thanksgiving favorites leave you feeling guilty the
next day. Start things off right with veggie-packed appetizers that are sure to please even holiday food traditionalists.
Katrina Herrejon, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, Adult Endocrinology Group, shares one of her favorite
Recipe makes 6 servingsServing size 2/3 cup
Ingredients: 2 cans artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained (16 oz.) 1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise (4 oz.)2/3 cup cooked spinach or frozen spinach that has been thawed (4 oz.)2/3 cup white extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (3 oz.)
Nutrition Information (per 2/3c serving):
Calories: 149Total Fat: 10Total Carbohydrate:
8Fiber: 2Protein: 6
Counting calories isn’t at the top of many to-do lists on Thanksgiving Day, and it
still doesn’t have to be. With a little planning and a few substitutions, your Thanksgiving can be a little healthier and every bit as delicious.
Katrina Herrejon, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at
NorthShore, breaks down this decadent day, sharing health tips for before and during the big meal:
Before the Dinner
At the Table
What do you do to keep holiday eating
We’re all busy and keeping tabs on the safety of our homes often falls by the wayside
when calendars fill up quickly with day-to-day activities like getting the kids to school on time and shuttling them back and forth to practices and events. But, it’s incredibly important to make time to ensure the safety of your home.
risks are easy to spot but there are some you can’t see at all. Carbon monoxide is very dangerous and because the gas is odorless and colorless, it's hard to detect without proper monitoring. Now that frigid temperatures have settled in for the
winter and furnaces are working overtime, it’s even more important to make sure your family is well-protected from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Leikin, MD, Medical Toxicologist, shares five household safety requirements:
Do you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home? How frequently do you check it?