How To Avoid Getting Sick Around The Holidays


Let’s face it, nobody wants to spend the holidays in bed sick. Seven months ago, my 22-year-old daughter was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She has spent those months undergoing chemotherapy. As she draws near the end of her treatments, she is especially vulnerable to the cold and flu because of a severely compromised immune system.

cold meds


I asked my husband, an emergency room physician, what preventative measures will keep my daughter strong as well as the rest of us. Here are Dr. Zufelt's suggestions.

How to Avoid Getting Sick During the Holidays

Frequent Hand Washing

Viruses are airborne and can be spread through touch. Frequent hand washing is the easiest way to keep germs at bay. Use soap and water and rub hands together for at least 20 seconds to be effective. Wash your hands after touching anything in a public place, after using the bathroom, before food preparation, and any time you are near a sink.

Use Hand Sanitizer

Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket, purse, backpack, etc. and use it when hand washing isn’t convenient.

Avoid Public Places

The more people you are around, the bigger chance you will be exposed to the cold and flu. Also, stay home if you are sick. You put others at risk for contracting your illness when you go out.

Eat Healthy

Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins and anti-oxidants, which are natural body boosters. Fruits in season during the winter months, like oranges and pomegranates, are loaded with vitamins that can boost the body’s immune system.


Exercising in moderation helps the body stay strong and healthy during the winter months. Even in the cold months, getting outside is great for your body. It's an old wives tale that cold weather causes illness. Viruses cause illness that live longer in the cold.

Wear a Mask

This is especially important for those who are immune-compromised.

Get the Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine can help prevent the flu. Get other vaccines as well. Doctors have noticed a recent trend in the amount of preventable childhood illnesses.  For those who choose not to vaccinate your child, you not only put your child at risk, you put those like my daughter in danger.

5k runner Please don't ask your doctor for a prescription antibiotic for the cold and flu. Antibiotics are only effective in treating bacterial infections. Time and rest, not medicine, is the best treatment for viruses like the cold and flu.

I want my daughter to be able to spend this holiday season with healthy family members and friends so she can run her next race as a cancer survivor.

What do you do to prevent your kids from getting sick during the holidays?

profile_bigger Trudy Zufelt is the author of two blogs, Boys to Books and Made in U.S.A. In her spare time, she also writes children's books and is very near the completion of a middle grade novel as well as in the midst of writing a young adult novel. Her dream is to become a published book author. In the meantime, she loves to share her passion for children's literature, especially books for boys and is a book reviewer for a couple of midsize publishing companies. She also has a passion for Made in U.S.A. and writes product reviews for all things Made in America. She has one daughter and two sons and raising them has been the most challenging and fulfilling of all her jobs.

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