How to survive the festive season

By Agnes Kyotalengerire

Added 19th December 2017 08:36 PM

Beware of over drinking, food poisoning and accidents.

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Beware of over drinking, food poisoning and accidents.

As it is characteristic of the festive season, many of us have started making merry with relatives and friends. We have planned to celebrate with sumptuous meals in addition to several activities some of which will take us away from home. However, the festive season is also known to have several health and security threats, which we need to guard against.

Food poisoning
According to Peterson Kikomeko, a lecturer of human nutrition and dietetics at Kyambogo University, some people fall victim to food poisoning because of eating contaminated food.

Kikomeko explains that contamination or food spoilage usually results from poor handling and mixing different foods.

High protein foods like eggs and fish get spoilt faster and their consumption consequently causes stomach upset.

Fortunately, some cases are minor and never require medical attention as the body’s immune system resolves them. However, some people are so much affected that they end up being hospitalised. The main causes of food poisoning are bacteria, especially the E.coli and it presents with symptoms like nausea with a constant urge to vomit. 

If there is left-over food, Kikomeko advises keeping it in clean containers and storing it in the refrigeratorEating poorly stored of left-over foods is greatly associated with stomach upset. He says the food should be heated before being eaten.

Alcohol intoxication
Alcohol is a main feature of merry making activities and during the Christmas season, many people are known to indulge in drinking it. According to Shafik Mayanja, a nutritionist working NUTRICORP Uganda, consuming a lot of alcohol or mixing different brands of alcohol has been known to result into intoxication. This is usually characterised by vomiting, a mechanism that the body uses to getting rid of the excess alcohol.

Mayanja warns against overconsumption of alcohol and fizzy drinks, saying it predispose one to cancers, diabetes, peptic ulcers and hypertension because the drinks contain gases and preservatives.

Accidents in the kitchen in form of cuts and burns are also relatively common during the festive season. In case of a cut, applying pressure to stop the bleeding or applying antiseptic to the area is the ideal first aid. If the cut is deep, then it may require medical attention, which could include stitching. To safe guard against injuries, Mayanja advises people to be careful while using knives and to keep them out of reach of children.

On the other hands, burns are caused by substances like soups, oil and sauces or by fire during activities such as grilling and roasting. In case of serious burns, one is advised to seek medical advice. In addition, it is advisable to avoid having many people in the kitchen in addition to avoiding doing things in a rush. Therefore, people who have no business in the kitchen, especially children should be kept out of it.

Children taking alcohol
During merry making, adults might not pay enough attention to children and there have been cases of children drinking alcohol and reacting badly. Therefore adults are advised to keep on monitoring the children and prevent them from engaging in undesirable activities like drinking alcohol. In addition, do not leave open unfinished alcohol bottles and glasses unattended to. After the celebrations, empty any residual alcohol out of glasses and bottles as children could drink the remains.

Dr. Jolly Nankunda, a senior consultant pediatrician at Mulago hospital, says alcohol causes stimulation consequently, making the children irritable. Aside, alcohol also puts a strain on their liver and kidney since the organs are immature, Dr, Nankunda warns.

Candle and Christmas tree fires
About 50% of cases of fire outbreaks in houses have been reported around Christmas than any other time of the year. The fires usually result from putting candles on or near the Christmas trees or leaving candles or open flames unattended while adults go partying.  Always place candles away from Christmas tree or remember to put them out before going to bed or leaving the house.

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