How to stay healthy for the holidays

PHILADELPHIA - December 16, 2011

"We've been seeing a gastrointestinal bug - that's nausea, diarrhea, vomiting," said Kathy Lucente, R.N. of Paoli Memorial Hospital.

"We're seeing some upper respiratory infections coming into the emergency room. We're starting to see some cases of influenza."

Lucente says the first step to staying healthy is to understand how germs spread.

"We usually pick it up with our hands and we take our hands and we touch our face, and we have a portal of entry with our eyes and our eyes. So, if your hands are contaminated or dirty, we should avoid touching our face as much as possible," Lucente said.

So, whether you are shopping or going to parties, wash your hands or use sanitizer often. Many shopping centers and public places have dispensers handy.

Lucente also says germs have a harder time when our immune systems are strong, so do what you can to help it.

"Get a good night's sleep, reduce your stress, get out and exercise," Lucente suggested.

At the mall take a brisk walk, or get out into the fresh air at home.

You don't need a big workout - even a little exercise reduces reduce stress. A few minutes of quiet meditation can also help.

When you stop to eat while shopping, eat healthy. Malls have more nutritious choices than ever.

Finally, know your limits and spread the holidays tasks around.

"As a working mom, I know how hard it is for young mothers. But you really need to plan that. You need to turn off the TV, crawl into bed and get a good night's sleep," said Lucente.

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