The End of the year is typically filled with festivities as the holiday season has arrived!
Children are on school break and with Christmas as well as the new year just around the corner, it’s going to be a fun-filled month for sure!
December is usually a month of catching up with friends, travelling, attending gatherings, parties and even hosting them. With all the festivities, it could cause lack of sleep, affect your immune system and also increase your risk of catching certain illnesses especially communicable diseases such as the flu as you go around shaking hands to greet people.
However, that’s not the only medical condition that you and your family could be at risk of during this time of the year. Here’s a list of nine medical conditions that are common not just in December but any holiday or festive season.
Perhaps the most common illness during the festive period, the flu can be easily passed on from an infected person as the virus can be spread through droplets from a sneeze or cough.
Although the flu can be easily treated, being down with it when you’ve got a full schedule throughout the month could bring your mood down. The good news is, there are simple steps that you can take to prevent the flu including boosting your immune system by eating food sources that are rich in nutrients especially vitamin C and to also wash your hand and sanitise them before eating.
As you fill your stomach with delicious food throughout the month, there is a risk of food poisoning especially when meals are eaten at eateries that do not practice good food hygiene as per regulations.
For example, raw meat or even undercooked meat could cause salmonella and unhealthy food handling could even spread rotavirus which can cause death among young children.
To avoid food poisoning, be sure to eat food that’s cooked through and serve food immediately. If you’re dining out, there are a few signs for you to look out for, including the grade of the restaurant’s hygiene by the local council as well as the professionalism of the staff.
In tropical countries like Malaysia, the dengue season is all year round. So how is it any different during this time of the year? Well, your risk of being bitten by an Aedes mosquito increases especially when you spend more time outdoors and if you’re going to be spending your December either outdoors like hiking or a barbeque party, you should consider putting on your best mosquito-proof gear.
Thankfully it’s not an entirely new suit. All you’ll need to do is to wear long pants, long sleeves and brighter or lighter coloured clothings. Of course, you might want consider swapping your perfume with mosquito repellent. Alright, we’re just kidding… perfume is fine but of course, protecting yourself with a natural insect repellent could help too.
Obesity does not happen overnight but if you build up or already have the habit of constantly overeating and filling yourself up with unhealthy food (which is very prone to happen during the holidays), it could lead to obesity sooner than you know it. Sometimes, your meal decisions may not be a hundred percent in your control especially if you’re attending parties but there’s always a variety to choose from. So, be sure to pick the healthier choice and never over indulge during any meal.
There may be days where you end up feeling too full but never make it a habit and once the holidays are over or when possible, do return to enjoying your usual meals which should consist of healthier food portions and options.
The holiday cheer is real but there’s also a darker side to the holidays and it can get pretty stressful. Financial issues for example and family or peer conflicts can increase your stress levels during this time of the year as many schedule for catch up sessions and gift exchanges.
At times, unforeseen circumstances could also pop up which will increase your stress levels. Manage stress and enjoy the holiday cheer by planning ahead where possible and when it comes to addressing financial issues, plan out a budget for the month and stick to it diligently (even if some sacrifices need to be made).
The festive season and holidays are a time of celebration but for some individuals, this time of the year can get more stressful than usual as mentioned earlier and if stress is not handled well, it could lead to depression.
On top of that, if you’ve just lost a loved one or living away from home, the holidays can affect your mood in a negative way too as you might feel lonely as you reminisce about happier times.
To curb loneliness and lift up your spirits, try making new friends or even seek help from support groups. There are also Christmas and New Year parties organised by restaurants which you could join in too!
Especially if you celebrate Christmas and enjoy decorating your home, you can get easily carried away with decorating. The next thing you know, you sit down and pain starts to creep on your back.
Long hours of festive shopping or standing in the kitchen for long and even thorough spring cleaning could all be possible causes of backache that’s associated with this time of the year. Despite all the excitement, it’s important to remember to take a break every now and then. Avoid straining your back because backaches can definitely hinder the festive joy.
Higher than usual amounts of fat, sugar and food in general can cause tummy discomfort due to indigestion. This also leads to bloating which affects not only the way you feel but could also cause a protruding tummy that’s filled with gas which could affect your wardrobe decisions.
If you’re experiencing indigestion, some peppermint or ginger tea could help with its symptoms or better still, choose to avoid it entirely by eating your food slowly and don’t forget to portion your meals well.
Also due to unhealthy eating habits, constipation can cause a lot of discomfort as well. Especially when you’re juggling between hectic days, convenience tends to usually win over proper food choices. Hence, your risk of constipation increases. To avoid constipation, carry a bottle of water around with you as dehydration could be one of the causes of constipation. On top of that, never forget to eat a generous serving of fruits and vegetables for all meals. Plus, fibre fills your stomach well and this helps to prevent overeating.
Do not allow these preventable illnesses and discomforts to ruin your holiday season. When it comes to food related matters, plan your meals well. If you’re at a buffet, browse through the spread and decide on which are the dishes that catches your eye. Do not start from the beginning of the line and force your way right until the end as this will only cause you to overeat.
You should end your year on a high note. So, never forget to focus on your wellbeing and most importantly, spend the last few weeks of 2018 with those you love and care about the most.