PENSACOLA, Fla. (December 16, 2013) – It’s the holidays. We’re sure to see sale tags glistening, cookies galore and, according to research studies, we’re also sure to see some added pounds on the scale once it’s all over. While some are out shopping the midnight madness sales, nervously balancing checkbooks or enjoying one too many homemade treats, it’s important that we consider something that will be around long after the eggnog – your family’s health.



Here doctors and nurse practitioners serving the greater Pensacola area describe how you can take care of your health while sharing in the season.



BUNDLE UP & STAY ACTIVE: While we all have a “to do” list a mile long around the holidays, it’s important that we make a point to stay active. Rather than doing all your shopping online, put on your tennis shoes and prepare to walk the mall. Also be sure to bundle up when there’s a chill in the area, including wearing a hat. “Staying active is crucial to health around the holidays and in the cold winter months. It’s also important to wear the proper attire, like a hat and scarf. You lose 90 percent of your body heat from your neck and head, so in cold weather, a hat and scarf can really help you keep warm,” says Edwin Taylor, M.D., a board certified family physician on the Westside of Pensacola.



GOOD EATS, AND JUST A FEW TREATS: Having your annual holiday favorites is fine, but keep it in moderation says Tracey Doyle, M.D., board certified OB/GYN on 12th Avenue in Pensacola. “All women, but especially those who are pregnant, should chose healthy, good-for-you food options whenever possible throughout the holiday season (and always), including fruits and vegetables that tend to fill you up without the calories of typical snacks and traditional holiday side dishes.” To avoid over-indulging, never go to a party hungry. Instead of munching, focus your time on socializing. “Mingling with friends is a great way to take the focus off of food and back on the festive nature of the holidays,” Doyle continues.



SHARE JOY, NOT GERMS: During the holidays, we hug, shake hands and socialize more. “Good hand washing is always important to maintaining good health, but especially around the holidays. Wash with plenty of soap, lather well and wash them in warm water for around 20 seconds at least,” encourages Joshua Davis, M.D., a board certified family medicine physician in Pace. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.



KEEP STRESS IN CHECK: Unfortunately, for many people, the holidays can be a stressful or depressing time. It’s important to find ways to cope and be optimistic. “Stress is associated with premature heart disease and general health and wellness concerns, including high blood pressure” says Logan Richards, M.D., board certified internal medicine physician in Gulf Breeze. Simple steps can be taken to reduce stress over the holidays such as planning ahead, avoiding last-minute shopping, getting together with loved ones or volunteering to help someone less fortunate.



SEEK CARE: While many doctors’ offices are closed, there are always options for seeking medical care when you are feeling ill. Urgent care physician Richard Russo, M.D., explains, “Seeking care of a physician is always recommended when you or a family member feels ill. If your primary care physician’s office is closed, consider visiting an urgent care center or family medicine practice that offers urgent care or walk in services.” Many urgent care and walk-in care centers serve the Pensacola area, including both Baptist Urgent Care on Nine Mile Road in Pensacola and Baptist Medical Group Family Medicine & Specialty Care – Pace located on Highway 90 in Pace. “For emergencies, please remember to always dial 911 and seek immediate emergency care,” Dr. Russo continues.



Remember, the holidays are meant to celebrate good times with family and friends. Eating healthfully, staying active and taking care of you and your family’s health is the best possible gift you can give this holiday season.



To learn more about the physicians of Baptist Medical Group or to request an appointment, please visit BaptistMedicalGroup.org or call 437.8600 for personal assistance.