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The hidden health risks of holiday shopping

Main Line Health November 17, 2015 Wellness Articles

You’ve got your coupons, naughty and nice list, and a good night’s sleep. As far as you’re concerned, you’re as ready as you’ll ever be for a day of holiday shopping.

But lurking among those deals are health risks that many holiday shoppers don’t consider and, if you’re not prepared—these can sideline your holiday shopping. Before you head out the door this Black Friday, make sure you:

Fuel up

If you’re going to be on the move and on your feet all day, you’ll need the right food to keep you energized. For breakfast, choose oatmeal, eggs, yogurt, or toast topped with almond butter or bananas. Sugary cereals or salty breakfast sandwiches might taste good, but they’ll have you feeling sluggish before lunchtime.

Speaking of lunchtime, don’t fall victim to food court temptations. Skip the fried food, pizza, and greasy burgers and opt for fresh options, like a salad or grilled chicken sandwich. Even if fast food restaurants are your only option, most offer menu items like these.

Wear the right shoes

You might think those boots are comfortable or the flats you’re wearing look good with your outfit. But if you’re going to be on your feet all day, sneakers are usually the safest bet for footwear. Make sure the pair you choose has good treading on the bottom, and doesn’t have rips in the material or worn-down soles. You’ll want something to keep your feet supported and protected all day to prevent joint pain later on.

Dress in layers

The weather outside might be frightful, but once you get inside the mall or are elbow-deep in a rack of on-sale sweaters, you can get overheated quickly. Layering your clothing—think a light coat, sweater, scarf, and long-sleeve t-shirt—allows you the chance to shed layers depending on your temperature and prevents you from being uncomfortable.

Don’t forget outerwear, too, like gloves and a hat, especially if you plan on waiting in long lines to be one of the first ones in the door.

Watch your step

Even if it’s not cold enough for snow and ice on the ground, indoors can still present plenty of obstacles and opportunities for slips and falls. Spills in the food court and bags and boxes crowding the tiny aisles of stores can make it easy to trip, especially if you’re distracted. Always look up and forward when you’re walking, and take small steps.

Wash your hands

Think of all the things you’ll touch during a day out shopping: benches, doors, windows, money, sinks, trashcans—the list goes on. Surfaces like these can be a breeding ground for germs, and the perfect place to pick up a cold, flu, or other virus. Throughout the day, make sure you’re washing your hands regularly with soap and warm water to kill any germs that may be joining you for your shopping trip.

Some other trips for keeping yourself germ-free? Throw some hand sanitizer or hand wipes into your bag to cleanse your hands on the run, and keep your fingers and hands away from your face, to prevent germs from getting in your mouth or eyes.

Of course, even with all of the necessary precautions, there's still a chance that the holidays may get the best of your health. If that happens, Main Line Health is there for you with after-hours and emergency care, including a certified urgent care center at the Main Line Health Center at Exton Square and the Main Line Health Health Center in Broomall, both of which have hours on nights, weekends and holidays.

Visit our website to learn more about Main Line Health’s urgent and after-hours care.