When the holidays come around, there’s no denying it’s one of the best parts of the year. The holiday season gives you opportunities to spend time with family, give and receive gifts, and just enjoy the festivities.
However, with the holidays iconically falling in line with the winter months, bugs and viruses start to spread more and more as the most wonderful time of year rolls around. This means it’s going to take some extra preparation and a little extra care to keep yourself and the people you love healthy and safe during the holidays.
In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the easiest and most effective ways to stay healthy this holiday season. By putting these simple habits into practice, you can kick germs to the curb and reduce your risk of getting sick or passing a bug to someone else.
Each of these simple practices benefits not just you, but your loved ones, and your neighbors in the world at large. Everyone just wants to have a good time and enjoy the holidays, and putting these hygiene habits into practice is doing your part to help everyone around you have a fun, safe and healthy holiday season.
1. Carry hand sanitizer with you.
Even in a time when social distancing and mask-wearing have become the norm, there are still plenty of scenarios during the holidays when you’ll find yourself close to other people.
Whether you’re out shopping for gifts, picking up some holiday sweets, or are just on your daily commute, there are plenty of germy surfaces that you may come into contact with. The combination of being near strangers and touching high-traffic surfaces can put you at greater risk of getting sick. In these cases, carry hand sanitizer with you and don’t be shy to use it as you go about your way – you won’t regret having it by your side to keep those germs at bay!
Hand sanitizer, when paired with hand washing, mask wearing, and other health and safety measures, can make a major difference when it comes to keeping yourself and others from getting sick. Hand sanitizer contains germ-killing alcohol, which can quickly rid your hands of anything that you wouldn’t want on them.
Hang onto this rule of thumb: use hand sanitizer any time that you have come into contact with a high-touch surface like door handles, shopping carts, and tables and chairs in public areas.
Keeping a trusty bottle of hand sanitizer on your person is never a bad idea during cold and flu season, but sometimes one bottle isn’t enough. If you find that you move from place to place throughout your day, it’s a good move to stash bottles where you’re present the most so you’ll never be without it when you need it.
2. Wash your hands for 20 seconds.
It’s practically a cliché at this point, but it rings true. You’ve been told to wash your hands with warm water for 20 seconds since you were in preschool, but there is a reason that advice has been emphasized over and over.
Even well into adulthood, many people continue to wash their hands ineffectively out of force of habit. Some of us may be guilty of hastily slathering a bit of soap on our hands, rubbing it around for a couple of seconds, then quickly rinsing it off and calling it a day. However, although this is technically “washing your hands,” it is far from actually being effective in getting the job done.
There are a few reasons why this super-fast method doesn’t do enough to kill the germs that may be present on your hands.
First, soap needs to be thoroughly scrubbed around your hands before it is rinsed off. Many hand washers lather up their hands for a few seconds and then run them under water for the last 10 to 15 seconds of their wash. But, rinsing off the soap from your hands should be done after 20 seconds of scrubbing.
Running your hands under water will not kill the germs on them – it’s the soap paired with the water that does the heavy lifting. Get your hands wet, then lather them up with soap for 20 seconds before rinsing off. Your hands should only be under the flow of water from the faucet for a few seconds during the hand washing process. The rest is scrubbing with soap.
The second common hand-washing mistake has to do with touching high-touch surfaces on your way out of the bathroom. When you leave a public bathroom, you are likely to touch several germy surfaces after you have washed your hands. A hasty hand washer is likely to end up handling the faucet, paper towel dispenser, and door handle, picking up plenty of germs along the way.
In contrast, a careful hand washer will turn the faucet off using a paper towel, dispensing the paper towel using an elbow or a touch-free dispenser. Finally leaving the bathroom by opening the door touch-free with the use of an elbow or a paper towel-covered hand. Ah, finesse.
Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to keep sickness at bay, preventing you from catching a bug or spreading one to others. During the holiday season, frequent and thorough hand washing packs a major germ-fighting punch so you can keep the joy going.
3. Wear a mask in public.
One of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others from getting sick is through wearing a face covering when you are out in public. Covering your face prevents airborne respiratory droplets from spreading from you to others when you talk, breathe, cough or sneeze.
In many parts of the world, mask-wearing is mandatory in public areas due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many people disregard these mask-wearing mandates due to sheer annoyance of being told what to do, even for the sake of others.
So, even if you dislike wearing a face covering, it is well worth it to do so anyway when you go to restaurants, the grocery store, or other public places this holiday season. Anytime you spend time with others outside of the members of your household, wearing a mask is an extremely effective means of preventing the spread of germs.
Although it may not be fun, covering your face can save a life and protect you and others from getting sick.
Wrapping It Up
So, what have we learned?
- Carry hand sanitizer. Sanitizer.com’s marketplace makes it easy to find a high-quality, affordable sanitizer to help you spread holiday cheer instead of holiday germs.
- Wash your hands, the right way. We know you’re itching to get back to the festivities, but give that soap the chance to do its job and keep your hands germ-free.
- Wear your mask. Stay off the naughty list and help stop the spread of COVID -- Santa thanks you.