Rest, hygiene and hydration key to holiday health

In the Family Dinner Challenge, people commit to eating dinners together as a family at least three times a week for four weeks. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON – Getting sick during the holidays is the last thing anybody wants. But so many people get worn down that it doesn’t take much for a scratchy throat and sniffles to kick in.

Dr. Will Kimbrough, a primary care physician with One Medical Group in D.C., says “the holidays always overlap with when things get a little cold, things get more crowded and flu season really kicks in.”

The first line of defense — beyond, of course, getting that flu shot — is basic hygiene and common sense.

Kimbrough says to focus on hand washing, and trying to stay away from people who are clearly sick.

But he says in the end, his best advice to patients is simple:

“Take care of yourself, stay well rested, well hydrated and make time for exercise and eating right.”

Kimbrough says exercise is essential at this time of year, noting there are studies that show people who exercise regularly seem to boost their immune system and are less likely to get colds and the flu.

It’s also a great way to beat holiday stress. Kimbrough says “exercise really can diffuse some of that and give people an outlet to vent some of the stress and keep it from building up so much.”

He says family stress can really do a number on some of us. He advises being aware of those family members who can “push your buttons.”

Be prepared for that person, and try to keep the focus on fun activities that keep everybody in the family focused instead of fighting.

Follow @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter.

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