Do not lose sight of your health and safety during the upcoming holiday.

The unofficial close of summer is around the corner with the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend. As many people across the region, and the nation for that matter, prepare for festivities that will undoubtedly be different than years past, Faith Community Health System (FCHS) reminds everyone to keep their health and safety top-of-mind – especially during the ongoing COVID-19 era.

To remind area residents how to enjoy the upcoming holiday safely, FCHS officials have shared five health and wellness tips designed to keep the community out of danger.

Be COVID-safe

By now, we should know all the important prevention techniques to keep each other safe. It is still critical that everyone avoid large gatherings, regardless of it being indoors or outdoors. Social distancing measures should still be taken by avoiding close contact with people outside of your household.

If you go out in public for errands or shopping, remember to wear a face covering and maintain a safe distance of at least six feet from others. Wash your hands frequently, especially when coming back home from being out in public.

Remain active

Long weekends are a great opportunity to work in exercise and other physical activities. Whether it is a walk or jog around the neighborhood or tackling chores at home, the more you can move, the more calories you will burn.

Stay hydrated

While it is commonly recommended that individuals drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water daily, it is especially important when participating in activities outdoors during Texas summers. Heat exhaustion and dehydration can occur quickly, so staying cool and drinking plenty of fluids can help keep your body from overheating.

While water is ideal, sports drinks with electrolytes may also be useful for people participating in vigorous activities such as sports. Coffee, sodas, and juices are not recommended due to high sugar content.

Avoid or limit alcohol consumption

Holiday weekends are notorious for an increase in traffic-related accidents. Do not let your alcohol consumption contribute to the statistics and, even worse, ruin your life.

Heavy alcohol consumption can have disastrous effects on your body, including liver ailments. In addition, when drinking alcohol outdoors in the summer heat, your body can quickly become dehydrated.

If you are going to consume alcoholic beverages, limit yourself and drink plenty of water. In addition, it is critical that you not drive. Having a designated driver or a loved one transport you will always be the safe route for both you and your community.

Do not let this be a “cheat day”

Like many other holidays, Labor Day weekend is often celebrated in a variety of ways. No matter how you celebrate, do not use the holiday as an excuse to stray from your diet and nutrition plans. Consistency is key, and cheat days (or weekends) are never ideal.

Snacks and sweets are often consumed the most during Labor Day gatherings. Making healthier choices does not have to be difficult, though! Instead of chips, choose fresh, crisp vegetables such as carrot and celery sticks. Fresh fruits such as watermelon and peaches are a great seasonal alternative to cupcakes and cookies.

Avoid food poisoning

Grilling is an American pastime, and this Labor Day is no different. To prevent foodborne illnesses, always ensure your food is both prepared and stored properly.

Do not leave uncooked meats out of refrigeration for too long and ensure they are thoroughly cooked, especially leaner meats like chicken.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests that food should not be left out for more than an hour when outdoor temperatures are above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, foods should not be left out for more than two hours at any time. Foods that require refrigeration should be placed in coolers with plenty of ice or freezing packs to hold a temperature of at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

No matter what your Labor Day holiday weekend has in store for you, remember that FCHS is nearby, ready to care for you in the event of a medical emergency as Faith Community Hospital is open 24/7.

Have fun this Labor Day weekend and remember to stay safe and healthy.