5 Tricks to Avoid Getting Sick this Thanksgiving

Every year our ER gets busy right after Thanksgiving—it’s no coincidence, there are real reasons why illness spreads during the holidays.  Here are five tricks to keep your kids (and yourself) healthy this Thanksgiving:

1)      Avoid the sick people at Grandma’s house: Chances are there will be at least one buggy-nosed kid at your family’s Thanksgiving dinner.  No one skips Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma’s house, even if they are sick.  It’s your job to spot the sick people and stay away from them.

Sick toddlers with runny noses are the Typhoid Marys of the winter virus season.  Keep hand sanitizer in your pocket and douse those dirty toddler hands the first chance you get.  Keep their little fingers away from the cheese and crackers or you’ll all be sick.

The sick adults can be harder to catch.  If you catch your brother sniffling and you’re not sure if it’s a cold or allergies, strike up a conversation about how much it stinks to be sick.  Misery loves company, so they’ll quickly share all the details of their condition.  Once they admit it, pass the hand sanitizer.  They’ll get the point.

2)      Use forks, not fingers: Include serving utensils for each of your dishes, including appetizers.  Avoid cracker baskets, bowls of nuts, and other dishes that everyone dips their hands into.

3)      Serve up your turkey well-done: Undercooked turkey can transmit salmonella and leave your whole family with vomiting and diarrhea.  If you are cooking your stuffing inside your turkey, it is especially important to be sure it is well done. Consider putting the finished stuffing in the microwave for a few minutes just to be sure. If you are adding giblets to your gravy or stuffing, cook it outside the bird per USDA recommendations.

4)      Skip the chitlins, chitterlings, and anything else made of intestines:  Chitlins are a southern delicacy usually made of pork small intestines.  If your cook is not careful, chitlins can cause diarrhea from a bacteria called Yersinia.  They can also transmit other diarrhea-causing bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella.  If you just can’t give up your pig intestines, be sure they are well cleaned and not undercooked.

5)      Teach kids how not to pick their nose: Does your toddler pick their nose and then reach for the crackers?  Time for nose picking lessons.  Here are my tricks for dealing with this nasty habit so that your whole family doesn’t share your toddler’s germs.


On behalf of MyCatholicDoctor, I wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving in your own home, not the ER.

Leave a reply