Dec. 19, 2013 04:38

Spread Christmas cheer, not germs


Photo courtesy of Lafayette Family Healthcare
Michael S. Sonnier

It's the most wonderful time of the year to get sick - said no one. Ever. Odds are you know someone recently diagnosed with the flu, a cold or maybe even a stomach virus. The increased level of stress and time crunch at this time of year leaves us vulnerable to minor illnesses that can put a damper on holiday plans.

Below are a few recommendations to defend you and your family against minor illnesses from Michael S. Sonnier, a board-certified family nurse practitioner who utilizes a proactive, educational approach to patient care. Arc of Acadiana's director of health services, Sonnier leads and operates Lafayette Family Healthcare in partnership with licensed clinical psychologist, Jay W. Bamburg, Ph.D.

With the holidays in full swing, it's a mad dash to fit everything in, from shopping to parties and tree trimming to cooking and spending time with family and friends. But it's important to remember to take care of yourself. Being sick during the holidays is like coal in your stocking - it's the ultimate Grinch.
We all know there's nothing more valuable than good health, and everyone wants to feel their best during the holidays. Consider these tips to safeguard your immune system when it matters most:

        Fa-la-la-la Lather Up
As the saying goes, cleanliness is next to Godliness, and it's your first line of defense in preventing the spread of viruses. Wash your hands (often) for at least 60 seconds with warm water and soap. If you're on the go, arm yourself with hand sanitizer.

        Don't Scrooge on Sleep
Get your beauty rest - Haggard isn't one of Santa's elves. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep during the holidays. Catching enough ZZZs will boost your immune system and help your body recharge for another day.

        Ho Ho H20
Stay hydrated, and no, egg nog doesn't count. Everyone could use a reminder to drink plenty of water during the holidays, especially when alcohol consumption may be elevated. Eight glasses of pure, unadulterated water a day, people.

        Don't Deck the Halls Without a Dose of Vitamin D
Yes, that's D, not C. Vitamin D is a vital immune system regulator. Step out and enjoy the sunshine for 20-25 minutes or grab a carton of Vitamin D-fortified milk.

        Keep Calm and Christmas On
A rise in adrenaline can be the tipping point for the nasty cold to swoop in and ruin the day. When you start to feel overwhelmed by crazy Uncle Larry's antics, take a deep breath and count to ten. Your body will thank you.

To learn more about Sonnier and Lafayette Family Healthcare, visit