Tips for a happy, healthy holiday season

Holiday Sweets

‘Tis the season for family gatherings, friends, food and fun. It’s also a time when healthy habits can fall by the wayside. We caught up with Lauren Strelitz, MD, from Stanford’s Bayside Medical Group in Pinole for some simple tips on how to help kids stay healthy during the holiday season and cold winter months.

Cookies, candy and cakes, oh my!

Like the rest of us, Dr. Strelitz knows that the holiday season creates many opportunities for indulgence. Her suggestion to tame your youngster’s sugar tooth? “Try to give your children a healthy breakfast and lunch on days when you have big holiday dinners planned and then limit dessert to one item or smaller pieces of a few of items,” said Dr. Strelitz. “You can also make some holiday favorites healthier, for example, when making mashed potatoes you can use low sodium chicken broth or low-fat milk to substitute for some of the butter and cream.”

Is it too late to get the flu shot?

“Absolutely not,” says Dr. Strelitz. “Flu season runs from October through May so it’s not too late to get vaccinated. She also reminds parents that the flu shot itself does not cause the flu.

“The flu vaccine contains inactive virus and cannot give you the flu. She further explains that the vaccine actually activates the immune system to teach your body how to fight the flu. “In some cases, this may cause a couple of days of low-grade fever and/or body aches, whereas the flu itself can bring miserable body aches, fevers and other symptoms for up to 2-4 weeks!”

Dr. Strelitz also likes to remind her patients that the best way to prevent illness during the winter months is to wash hands regularly, especially before eating or touching your mouth and nose.


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