Pharmacy & Healthcare

How to stay healthy for the holidays

From travel to family dinners, a Walgreens pharmacist shares a few simple steps to protect yourself and your loved ones this season.

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‘Tis the season for good food, great company … and plenty of germs. That’s why whether you’re braving the crowded airport or hosting at home this year, health should be at the top of your wish list. Read on for tips from Dr. Rachel Toothman, Walgreens pharmacist and healthcare supervisor in Cleveland, Ohio, to make sure you’re at your best throughout the holiday season. 

 

Safe travels 

Because taking Santa’s sleigh is (sadly) not an option, public transportation is often the only way to get to your destination once December hits.  

“That’s why it’s imperative to keep your hands clean by regularly washing and using plenty of sanitizer,” says Toothman. “Remember, hand hygiene is the first line of defense to stay healthy during the holidays.” 

Toothman also recommends packing tissues in your carry-on to avoid using shared boxes from public restrooms that might contain bacteria and keeping over-the-counter medication handy. 

“Walgreens offers small, travel-friendly containers of everything from acetaminophen to allergy medications,” explains Toothman. “These will keep you moving when you’re on a mission to catch a flight or train.” 

To prep before your big travel day, consider immune boosters like the Walgreens-brand Vitamin C supplement. Walgreens-branded vitamins, minerals and supplements provide a host of innovative products, with select products offering the same active ingredients as national brands. 

Walgreens pharmacists like Toothman can administer vaccinations to help prepare your body for any upcoming travel or gatherings and provide testing for suspected cases of COVID-19 or flu.  

“The No. 1 way to protect yourself and others is to get vaccinated for the respiratory diseases that are most common this time of year, including flu, COVID-19, pneumonia and RSV. This is the best option over any immune booster on the market,” Toothman adds.  

 

Kicking stress to the curb 

As we all know, the holidays can be stressful. Many people can feel physical symptoms from the pressure that comes with all the cooking, gift buying and hosting.  

“With so many obligations this time of year, it’s often easy to push aside self-care,” Toothman says. “We may be tired and stressed out, but we can’t forget to ask ourselves those little things like, ‘Did I drink enough water today?’ or ‘Have I gotten up and stretched while I’m wrapping all of these gifts?’” 

With orders delivered in as little as 1 hour or ready for curbside pickup in 30 minutes, Walgreens makes it easy to order anything from stress support gummies to a weighted blanket and neck massager. That way, you can easily take on whatever challenge arises either before, during or after your celebration.

 

Healthy hosting habits 

There are certain ways to keep yourself and your guests healthy during a big get-together.  

“Pay attention to high-touch areas like shared serving spoons,” advises Toothman. “We may think it’s clean because we’re not eating off it, but everybody else's hands are still touching it. So, after making your plate, it’s a good idea to wash your hands.” Use disinfecting wipes on those surfaces that get touched frequently, including serving ware, door knobs, faucets and cabinets.  

It’s also crucial to know everyone’s surroundings ahead of time, and if someone isn’t feeling well, help them cut down on the number of surfaces they touch (by making them a plate for dinner, for example) and have items on hand like face masks and disposable tableware to minimize the spread of germs at gatherings.

 

Digging in 

There’s nothing better than a big holiday dinner—though for many, the hours after the meal may not be as enjoyable.  

"For people who already overate, we carry antacids, Pepto-Bismol and anti-diarrheal medications for any kind of digestive issues. On the flip side, if you’re trying to prevent it—if someone knows if they eat certain things, they’re going to have heartburn or an stomach upset—we carry various products such as such as famotidine and Prilosec.” 

 

Walgreens is there for you around the clock 

If you or a loved one happens to come down with something—whether it be COVID-19, the flu or a common cold—Walgreens is here to help, with convenient hours on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Day (visit the store locator for hours in your area). You can also speak to a pharmacist and get over-the-counter recommendations for specific symptoms through free online and in-person consultations. With professional and at-home testing available, we can help you rule out certain illnesses before you travel and gather with family and friends and narrow down your treatment options. 

“We are proud to play a role in ensuring the health and safety of our customers during this special time of year,” says Toothman. “The holiday season might not always be easy, but it’s certainly filled with the same convenience and care that Walgreens offers year-round.” 

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