What’s worse than getting Aunt Helen’s fruitcake for Christmas? Getting “the flu.”
“Even though it’s the holiday season, if you’re sick, stay home. No one wants what you’re bringing, so don’t share it with family and friends,” said Dr. Erin Courtney, health protection supervisor at Lambton Public Health.
The best way to protect yourself and others from influenza is to get a flu shot. Flu shots are available from your health-care provider or neighbourhood pharmacy.
Close, indoor social gatherings are the perfect environment to share germs. Lambton Public Health has a few tips to keep your family holidays healthy:
–Wash hands often with soap and warm water. Use an alcohol-based sanitizer when soap/water is not available.
–Cough and sneeze in your sleeve.
–Get your seasonal flu shot to help your body build immunity.
Improper food safety can also make family and friends sick. Follow these food safety tips to help prevent illness:
–For potluck-style gatherings, use warming trays, chafing dishes or crock pots to keep hot foods hot. Keep cold foods cold with serving trays on crushed ice.
–If food remains at room temperature for more than two hours, throw it away.
–Eggnog from a store is safe to drink but if you make it at home, use pasteurized egg and milk ingredients, or heat the egg-milk mixture to at least 71°C (160°F).
–Refrigerate using shallow containers so it cools quickly.
–Cook your turkey to a minimum internal temperature of 82oC (180oF).
–If you stuff your turkey, stuff loosely. Ensure stuffing has a minimum internal temperature of 74oC (165oF) and remove stuffing after cooking.
For information about illness prevention, flu shots, or food safety, call 519-383-8331, toll free 1-800-667-1839, or visit www.lambtonpublichealth.ca.