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Take precautions to ensure a healthy and safe holiday

Wash your hands often to prevent the spread of germs and viruses.

The holiday season is upon us again. It is a time when many people overlook the precautions they should take to stay healthy and safe while enjoying the festive season and the activities that come with it.

Holiday events and celebrations can be invaluable times for family and friends to get together. However, these celebrations can quickly turn into a time of anxiety and distress if people fall sick, are injured or lose their lives.

Health safety precautions

 The holidays can be stressful, especially if you are faced with a lot of responsibilities or there are numerous expectations of you.

You need to manage your stress levels and take care of your mental health.

Give yourself a break. Find support. Connect with others and make sure you have enough sleep.

If you are travelling, take out travel insurance so that you do not find yourself faced with medical bills abroad that you are unable to pay. Make sure it covers whatever activities you expect to be doing. Find out if you need any vaccinations, if you are travelling to another country.

If you are on medication, take a supply in your hand luggage.

Before travelling check if there are restrictions at your destination on what you can take there.

Be smoke-free and avoid second-hand smoke. Smoking can harm your lungs, heart and blood vessels and increase your risk of cancer and other diseases. If you smoke, try to quit. If you do not smoke, avoid exposure to tobacco smoke, as it can damage your health.

Wash your hands often to prevent the spread of germs and viruses.

Cook and eat safely

Food poisoning can ruin your holiday and make you sick.

Clean all surfaces before and after handling food. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw and cooked foods separate.

Cook foods to the proper temperature and refrigerate leftovers promptly.

Eat a balanced diet that includes fruit and vegetables. Limit your intake of fat, salt and sugar.

When trying out new foods, check for any allergens you are aware of. Only drink bottled water or water that has been purified.


Every year in Zimbabwe many people lose their lives on the roads during the festive season so staying safe when driving is important.

Make sure the car is ready for the journey. Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained, in good shape for travel and ready for rainy driving conditions.

Map your route out ahead of time when possible.

Have a plan and be aware of projected weather conditions.

Avoid driving at night

Wear your seatbelt. Ensure you and your passengers are properly restrained in seat belts and car safety seats. Do not drink and drive. If there is going to be drinking of alcohol at your holiday get together, choose a designated driver who will remain alcohol free.

Avoid fatigue. Get a good night’s sleep the night before you travel. Take regular breaks and share the driving if possible. If you are tired, pull off the road to a rest area.

Make sure you have an emergency plan. Have a cell phone and charger with you so it can be used in case of an emergency. Keep the contact information for emergency roadside assistance handy.

Do not text while driving. Keep your full attention on the road. Make use of a hands-free device if you need to use your mobile phone while driving.

Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you, allowing ample time to react to the traffic around you. If someone is tailgating you, allow him to pass. Do not try to compete with impatient and aggressive drivers.

Most importantly, watch your speed. Take road and weather conditions into account. Do not exceed the speed limit. Give yourself plenty of time to get to where you are going so you are not in a rush. Always remain calm. If you feel stressed or irritable, take some deep breaths to help you relax a bit more. Do not allow road rage to grip you. This compromises the safety of yourself and the people around you.

Holiday destination

If you are going to a holiday resort make sure you keep your room doors locked, even when you are inside the room. If there is a safe in your room, put your cash, bank cards and other valuables inside. Only take out enough for your day-to-day expenditure with one bank card as back up. If there is no safe in your room, ask at reception if you can use the hotel safe.

Be aware of your environment. Keep all furniture away from the balcony wall or railings. Never climb or stand on balcony furniture. Never leave children unsupervised.

Be wary of pickpockets. They are a problem everywhere. They often target areas such as famous landmarks, where they know there are large numbers of holidaymakers.

If you use a taxi, make sure that it is a properly licensed official taxi. Such taxis will in most cases be at clearly signposted official taxi ranks. Your hotel can order one for you. Never accept a lift from an unlicensed taxi or a stranger. Be wary of unsolicited offers of help from friendly locals. Many may be genuine but others may not be. It may simply be a way to lure you into a false sense of security. If possible, never walk home alone.

If you are going to be swimming, check warnings at swimming pools and beaches. Do not swim where it is not permitted. If you are going to spend some time in the sun, apply sunscreen frequently and drink plenty of water. Take extra care with babies and children in the sun.

Carry some insect repellent with you, especially if you are going to be in mosquito prone areas.

If you go for a group outing, stay with your group. Keep your drink with you at all times or nominate a friend to watch your drinks. Do not take recreational drugs. They are harmful to your health and almost certainly illegal wherever you travel.

  • The information in this article is provided as a public service by the Cimas iGo Wellness programme, which is designed to promote good health. It is provided for general information only and should not be construed as medical advice. Readers should consult their doctor or clinic on any matter related to their health or the treatment of any health problem. — igo@cimas.co.zw or WhatsApp 0772 161 829 or phone 024-2773 0663


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