Clean Living Masthead New



Holiday Hygiene

Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holiday


Clean Your Paws for Santa Claus!
Keep Germs Away During the Holiday Season! Download our holiday coloring sheet and share with your children as you talk to them about good hand hygiene.

With so many other good things to do during the holiday season, who wants to spend precious time being sick? Nancy Bock, Vice President of Consumer Education at the American Cleaning Institute®, shares some of her favorite tips for staying healthy during the holidays.

Get the clean hands habit. Frequent handwashing is the number-one way to prevent the spread of germs that cause colds and flu. In the latest observational study sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute, 85% of adults washed their hands in public restrooms, compared with 77% in 2007. The 85% total was actually the highest observed since these studies began in 1996. It shows that we’re getting better, but there’s still a long way to go. To learn more, visit

Be handshake savvy. The holiday meet-and-greets offer lots of opportunities for hugs and handshakes. The downside of all this seasonal camaraderie is the opportunity to transmit germs from one person to another. Be very aware of keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose or mouth.

Control your social calendar. Answering every invitation that comes your way may leave you overscheduled, overtired and vulnerable to the germs that cause colds and flu. Be judicious in your acceptances so that you have time to do the things you really enjoy.

Get plenty of rest. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night to stay healthy. If you find yourself running around like one of Santa’s overworked elves, even 15-20 minutes of shut-eye will recharge your batteries. But don’t overdo it. Sleeping more than 30 minutes can lead to sleep inertia, which makes you feel sluggish and more tired than ever.

Reduce the possibility of food-borne illness. If you’re the host, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. If you’re the guest and you think that buffet food may have been sitting out too long, give the food a pass.

Join the weight control patrol. Here are a few helpful strategies:

  • Eat a small, healthy meal before party time. It will be easier to resist the high calorie foods.
  • At a party, don’t stand next to the buffet table. It leads to the temptation to overeat. Instead, mingle with the guests.
  • Carry an apple or a bag of baby carrots with you, particularly when shopping, so you always have a healthy snack available. Tuck some hand wipes or a hand sanitizer in with your snack so it’s easy to have clean hands no matter where you eat.
  • Drink plenty of water.

Don't give exercise a holiday. If there’s no time to follow your usual routine, be creative. While watching sports on television, ride an exercise bike, treadmill or do some other type of exercise. If you don’t have any exercise equipment, you can do crunches, pushups or jog in place during the commercials. When shopping, park your car a little farther from the door than usual so you can add a bit of walking to your routine. Forego the elevator or the escalator for the stairs.