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Keep health in mind over the holidays

Keep health in mind over the holidays Keep health in mind over the holidays

Make time to celebrate this holiday season, but look out for your own and your loved ones physical and mental health.

The holiday season can be one of joy, celebration and coming together to spend time with family and friends. The flip side of gathering together for parties, concerts and events is the increased risk of exposure to the many viruses and bacteria that make life miserable for those who get sick from them.

Health officials around the state and locally are warning of climbing numbers of influenza cases and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) along with COVID-19 continuing to be a steady threat. The number of flu and RSV cases, in particular, are putting stress on healthcare providers and hospitals, especially among those who have complicating health issues such as asthma or weakened immune systems due to other health issues such as those undergoing chemotherapy.

Statewide healthcare providers are reporting seeing that so far the number of flu cases this season are above what was seen all of last year. Hospitals are also reporting a number of patients who have multiple respiratory infections at the same time.

As families plan holiday gatherings, they need to take into consideration their own health and the health of people around them.

Those who are sick or have been exposed to illness should consider staying home from large gatherings or use precautions such as practicing social distancing, wearing appropriate masks and frequently washing hands or using hand sanitizer to prevent giving what you are fighting to others.

This is especially necessary if someone in your family has other complicating health conditions or are physically frail.

While Face-timing, Zoom or telephone calls do a poor job of replacing in-person visits, they are better than risking someone ending up being hospitalized. If you are sick, stay home and focus on getting well rather than exposing those around you.

At the same time that people need to be looking out for their physical health, it is important to pay attention to mental health concerns this time of year.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, as many as 20% of people experience some form of seasonal depression this time of year. Other causes of mental health concerns over the holidays include dealing with grief and anxiety due to the pressures related to finances and wanting the “perfect” holiday season.

It is important to take time during the busy holiday season to focus on your own mental health needs and to be there as a support for family members and friends. In the hustle and bustle of the season, schedule some down time to regroup and refocus.

It is important to be proactive in looking out for your own, and your loved ones’ physical and mental health this holiday season.