Most of us love the holidays! The lights, the food, the good company and the music all provide a boost for the spirit during the cold, dark winter.

Health and safety experts often issue reminders during this time of year. Prepare foods safely. Avoid slipping on icy sidewalks. Don’t leave candles unattended. And line up a designated driver if there will be holiday toasts at a gathering.

And here are the latest health and safety reminders for revelers.

Don’t forget your flu shot. Busy with preparations for the holidays, we might have not made time to be immunized against the seasonal flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting your shot by the end of October, but now isn’t too late. Holiday travel and crowds increase the likelihood that we’ll be exposed to the flu virus. Last year’s flu season was the deadliest in 100 years—and most of the victims were seniors! So head on in and get that shot. It is practically pain-free these days, and who knows? You might even walk out sporting a festive band-aid.

Take care lifting packages. Today, instead of shopping at the mall or our local downtown, we’re more likely to order gifts online, and find them waiting for us on the porch. Be careful when you pick them up. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reminds us to bend at the knees, not the waist, when lifting. Don’t twist your body. Instead, point your toes in the direction you are headed, and turn your entire body in that direction. And take care if snow and ice are present.

Protect your feet when you’re hanging lights. We might worry about a breaking a leg or arm or sustaining a head injury if we use a ladder while decorating. According to Dr. Pedro Cosculluela, an orthopedic surgeon from Houston Methodist Hospital, many people also suffer a heel bone fracture during a ladder fall. It’s a painful injury and often requires surgery. “A heel bone fracture is a terrible, life-changing event, and I see too many of these cases around the holidays after people fall off their ladders,” says Dr. Cosculluela. So be very careful while decking the halls!

Watch the dough. No, we’re not talking about Hanukkah or Christmas monetary gifts. Instead, this is a reminder that unbaked batters and doughs can pose a food safety danger. Most people have heard warnings not to eat cookie dough because of bacteria that can lurk in raw eggs. But did you know that raw flour, too, can contain dangerous bacteria? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says no to sampling doughs and batters of any kind, whether it’s for cookies, cakes, bread, or even tortillas.

Be careful removing icicles. We’ve had some arctic conditions already this year, with more chilly days sure to follow. And that means icicles. Loyola University Medical Center emergency medicine doctors say that if you are going to remove icicles from your home, do so safely. Wear protective gear to avoid injury to your head, hands and eyes. Tap them lightly to gently dislodge them so they won’t fall and splinter. “You shouldn’t be on a snow-covered roof unless you are a professional specially equipped and trained to handle the dangers,” said Dr. Mark Cichon. “Paying a service may be a wise investment rather than risking your health.”

Source: IlluminAge AgeWise

The information in this article is not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare provider.