Keep healthy in the silly season
We’re entering the “silly season” and after the year we’ve all had, it’s not surprising that we might like to let our hair down a bit and get out and enjoy the festivities.
But with that comes a few extra health factors to keep an eye on to make sure that nothing can dampen your spirits. In this blog post we’ll dissect four of the most common health issues that arise from summer fun gone haywire.
Salmonella food poisoning
Giving your guests salmonella food poisoning, a type of gastroenteritis (or “gastro”) is a sure-fire way to make sure you don’t have to host a summer bbq again. Often it arises because hosts aren’t used to preparing food for large groups of people and end up with cross-contamination of knives, bowls or chopping boards in the preparation of meat and salads. Or it could be because food is left out of the fridge a bit too long, or perhaps even due to poor storage of leftovers which you then serve up the next day.
Our top tips to avoid giving your guests the gift of salmonella this Christmas are:
- Handle and cook your food safely – make sure you use different utensils for different food and keep food chilled. Take extra care with food such as eggs, chicken and seafood.
- Don’t keep food sitting out on tables – avoid the hours and hours of food sitting in the sun by serving the meal, then clearing the leftovers away for proper storage.
- Treat leftovers with care – Cool food before storing in the fridge and use airtight containers. When eating leftovers, make sure you thaw completely (if frozen) and heat completely as well.
Australian summers are hot, so it goes without saying that keeping hydrated (…with water…) is key to maintaining hydration. Australian Government guidelines recommend that men drink around 2.5L (10 cups) of water per day, women drink around 2L (8 cups) and children drink anywhere between 1L (4 cups) and 2L (8 cups) per day (depending on their age and size).
Only around one-fifth of our water needs per day come from food so to keep up that liquid intake we recommend:
- Having a glass of water when you wake up
- Carrying water with you in a water bottle
- Steering away from caffeinated or sugary drinks (which make you more dehydrated).
Lots of us love a tipple at Christmas time, so we’re not going to tell you not to, but we will tell you to make sure that you drink water at the same time, and if you are drinking alcohol, drinks with mixers such as sparkling water are better in terms of hydration. The greater the alcohol content, the greater the dehydration too – time to google some mocktail recipes perhaps? 😉
Despite being relatively sun-smart as a nation, Australia still has the highest age-standardised melanoma incidence rate (at 33.6 per 100,000) and mortality rate (3.2%) of melanoma in the world (Source: Cancer Council Australia). That means that there is a lot more work to be done in this area to translate our collective knowledge about what we should be doing to protect our skin in the sun into actual action. Here’s our top tips (not really ours though – if you remember the “slip, slop, slap” ads, these tips have been around a long time!):
- Put sunscreen on your skin…every day, and then reapply throughout the day as required. Make sure you choose a good one too – that offers broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays.
- Limit your time in the sun, especially in the middle of the day.
- Do not seek out a tan – either in the sun, or by artificial means such as tanning beds. This just increases your exposure to ultraviolet rays.
- Wear protective clothing – such as a hat, sunglasses and long-sleeved clothing.
- Know your skin – keep an eye on your skin to monitor any changes, and if you notice any, speak to a GP.
Take care out there!
The Christmas holidays can be a minefield in terms of doing activities that you aren’t used to. Activities such as going out on watercraft, using wheels (rollerblading, skateboarding, cycling) or even standing on ladders to put up the Christmas lights. We can’t anticipate all the crazy activities you might try, but here’s some ones to look out for:
- Take care around Christmas trees and lights – make sure someone is holding the ladder for you, check your lights for electrical faults and keep the kids away!
- Warm up before taking on those new toys – you might have been able to “pull an ollie” on the skateboard when you were eight, but jumping straight back on in middle age can lead to all sorts of things (broken bones, twisted ankles…). Take it slow!
- Be aware of the conditions…and your abilities – holidays are a great time to be out on boats, paddle boarding and snorkelling, but things can easily turn nasty if you’re not experienced enough to deal with a change in weather conditions, or any emergencies out on the water. Swim between the flags, tell someone where you are going, and take an experienced person with you.
- Aim those champagne corks away from your eyes…!
Take note of our tips and you should be all set for a bumper festive season. If things still don’t go to plan, remember we are here and open all holidays (every public holiday, every weekend, every evening). Just book an appointment!
This website does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately dial Triple 0 (000).