Christmas is a time of fun, food, family, and alcohol, and the festive holidays are an opportunity to kick back after a few months of hard slog. Most people have at least one or two days off during the holiday, so it’s natural to make plans that involve rest and relaxation.

However, for some families, illness strikes and at least one person ends up needing an urgent care doctor. We can’t stop you falling sick this Christmas, but here is a quick guide on the most common festive ailments – and how to avoid them.

The Common Cold

We can pick up a cold at any time of the year, but they always seem more prevalent around Christmas.

It’s cold and damp, we are exposed to millions of germs when we visit crowded shopping malls, and our colleagues don’t stay at home when they have a cold because they need to clear the backlog on their desk before the Christmas break.

It’s difficult to prevent colds, but try boosting your immune system with Vitamin C, washing your hands frequently, and avoiding anyone with a raging cold.


The flu is a serious viral infection and one of the most common winter ailments. Anyone with a long-term health problem, seniors, and other vulnerable people should be vaccinated before flu season hits, but either way, boosting your immune system and making sure you get plenty of sleep is the best way to prevent the flu from ruining your Christmas.

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is no joke. It can happen to anyone, at any time, but Christmas is a particular food poisoning hot spot. Roast turkey is a traditional Christmas meal.

The problem is that turkey – and poultry in general – harbors the salmonella bacterium and if the meat is not cooked properly, you will be struck down with food poisoning. To prevent a major vomiting and diarrhea episode over Christmas, cook your meat carefully and don’t cram too much in the oven.

Allergic Reactions

Catering for extra guests at Christmas is all part of the fun, but always check whether anyone has a food allergy, or you could end up making a trip to the Emergency Room at short notice. Nut allergies are tricky because nuts can taint all kinds of foods.

Food intolerance is less serious, but as anyone with lactose intolerance knows all too well, the effects can be nasty.


Stress Levels

Christmas is a stressful time. We have to shop for extra festive food, pick up gifts for people we rarely see, and start preparing the house for guests over the holidays.

Add all of the extra school events, work parties and expenditure, and you have a boiling cauldron of stress.

Don’t underestimate the effect of stress. It can cause depression, anxiety, and erupt into all manner of unpleasant symptoms.

Don’t let stress ruin your Christmas holidays. Start your shopping early, be as organized as possible, and don’t set your expectations too high. It is only another day after all.

Alcoholic Ill-Effects

At Christmas time, the alcohol flows freely and we are encouraged to drink more than we normally would do.

With so many Christmas parties to attend, it can be difficult to say “no” to another drink, but try to pace yourself on nights out and don’t overindulge.

Alcoholic poisoning is more than just a nasty hangover. If you drink way too much, you could end up in hospital.


Alcohol can lead to ill thought out sexual encounters. If you do decide to let your hair down over Christmas, at least practice safe sex.

Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year!