Tackling germs at the football party: Rules for staying super healthy

Whether you’re throwing a party or attending one, play defense against the flu and other illnesses by practicing these hygienic plays.

Sunday, Feb. 7, brings a healthy dose of competition and celebration, but it can also bring a hefty amount of germs. Whether you’re throwing a party or attending one, play defense against the flu and other illnesses by practicing these hygienic plays.

Home team rules (if you’re throwing the party):

1 – Use toothpicks, skewers or individual cups for as many food items as possible. It prevents people from sticking their hands directly into a bowl or touching the same spoon, and it’s a good method for controlling portions to avoid overeating.

2 – Use a spoon for dips. This discourages your guests from double-dipping, and can help stop the spread of germs from mouths and hands.

3 – Bring out foods one at a time to avoid having them sitting too long at room temperature. While you have them out, keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot to avoid bacteria growth.

4 – Have hand sanitizer readily available.

5 – Offer a variety of foods, including healthy options such as fresh fruit, to keep your guests’ immune systems in tip-top shape. Don’t forget a pitcher of ice-cold water!

6 – If your party includes alcoholic beverages, be sure designated drivers are available to take guests home safely.

7 – Wipe down the kitchen table, coffee tables and counters with disinfectant wipes before and after guests arrive.

8 – Keep a trash can and recycling bin where guests can get to them so you aren’t cleaning up leftover germ-infested napkins and plastic cups around the house.

Visiting team rules (if you’re going to someone else’s party):

1 – Don’t eat food that’s been sitting out for too long. If you notice that perishable items such as meats and cheeses have been unrefrigerated well past half-time, it’s best to avoid them—and maybe ask the host or hostess to throw them away. Bacteria begin to grow on perishable items after a few hours.

2 – Avoid “binge bowls,” or large bowls of chips, crackers and other snack foods. Not only are these unhealthy options, but they likely contain germs from others reaching in for a handful.

3 – Pet the dog, toss the football around, high-five and enjoy the party — just be sure to wash your hands with warm water and soap afterward.

4 – Be sure to get up from the couch every 20 to 30 minutes to stretch, move and stay active. Being sedentary for too long may cause health problems in the long run. It’s also good to look away from the TV screen about every 30 minutes to keep your eyesight sharp. 

5 – If you’re asked to bring food, make something healthy. There will more than likely be a plethora of cookies, desserts and calorie-dense appetizers. If you take something that everyone can enjoy guilt-free, you won’t be as tempted to fill up on the unhealthy grub.

6 – Get plenty of sleep and exercise beforehand to keep your immune system strong. Parties bring together a variety of people, meaning illness can spread quickly and easily. It is best to have your immune system ready to defend your body against germs, especially during flu season.

7 – If you’re bringing the kids along with you, make sure they follow these rules too!


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