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6 Maladies That Spike Around the Holidays

A lot can go awry during the holidays, so take precautionary measures to ensure this season is enjoyable and prosperous.

The holiday season is a joyous occasion for many, but did you know certain maladies can actually spike during this time of year? Knowing the ones you’re at risk for (and which precautionary measures to take) may help prevent you from ailing during the holidays.

1. The Flu

The dreaded flu is common in late fall and winter, so be cautious when being around a lot of people during the holidays. Winter is the time to worry about flu the most. Harvard University says flu season in the U.S. is in full swing in December and reaches its peak in February. Getting a flu shot may lower your risk of contracting the flu—taking hand-washing precautions and steering clear of people showing flu symptoms helps also.

2. Stress and Anxiety

Stress often spikes around the holidays, which makes sense due to the hustle and bustle of getting ready to celebrate—holiday parties, holiday cooking, and baking, shopping for presents, traveling and worrying about finances. To overcome or prevent holiday stress and anxiety, Mayo Clinic suggests sticking within a budget, saying no to activities when you need to—and re-energizing with walks, reading a good book, listening to music, or getting a massage or pedicure.

3. Depression

The holiday season is a joyous time for many, but for others this time of year boosts depression. This might be the case if you’ve lost a loved one, lost your job, are struggling financially to make ends meet, or simply feel isolated living away from friends and family. Mayo Clinic suggests seeking professional help if you can’t seem to shake feeling sad, as social support and counseling sessions might help. Reach out to friends and family to stay connected and avoid social isolation (which can lead to depression) this holiday season.

4. Dry Skin

Cracked and bleeding skin is nobody’s cup of tea, but the cooler dry air is often the culprit during the holiday season. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying a moisturizer frequently throughout the day to areas of dry skin and using a moisturizer containing lactic acid or urea for extremely dry skin.

5. Weight Gain

Dreaded weight gain is inevitable for some people during the holidays, but it doesn’t have to be this way year after year. You can still attend holiday parties and gatherings without the guilt of overeating, by following a few simple tips.

Avoid alcoholic drinks if possible, and if you do splurge on one pick a glass of wine, light beer, or a drink mixed with calorie-free club soda. Focus on veggies and protein (grilled chicken breast, salmon, tofu and skinless turkey breast). Steer clear of white foods (white bread, rolls, mashed potatoes, and white sauces like gravy and white dips) as a weight-gain prevention rule of thumb.

6. Vitamin D Deficiency

Getting too little vitamin D is linked to depression, especially during winter months when many Americans steer clear of vitamin D-producing sunshine. Vitamin D deficiency is more common than you might think and is considered a global public health problem, according to one 2014 review. If you’re feeling down in the dumps or simply don’t have the energy to get through the day, have your doctor check vitamin D levels to see if vitamin D supplements are necessary to beat winter blues.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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