Drinkers urged to be sensible and tips to avoid unwanted pregnancies this Christmas

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Public Health at North Lincolnshire Council is issuing a series of messages to help people remain illness free and healthy during the winter months. This latest message focusses on drinking sensibly, practising safe sex, avoiding food poisoning and the importance of exercise.

Know your drinking limits

Britons drink 41 per cent more in December than any other month. Drink driving rates and accidents in the home such as falls and fires rise sharply at Christmas. The NHS recommends the daily alcohol intake for men is three to four units and two to three units for women. Visit www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/alcohol-units to find out how many units are in your favourite drink. Ensure you plan ahead – always have a designated driver and if you’re cooking, take care with your alcohol intake.

Prevent food poisoning

If you’re buying a frozen turkey this year, it is essential that you ensure it is thoroughly defrosted before you begin to cook it, to lower your risk of getting food poisoning. Always check the packaging; it will usually have the guidelines on how long to defrost your particular turkey for. If there are no defrosting instructions, you can follow these guidelines provided by NHS

Choices:

In a fridge at 4°C (39°F), allow about 10 to 12 hours per kg

In a cool room (below 17.5°C or 64°F), allow approximately three to four hours per kg

At room temperature (about 20°C or 68°F), allow approximately two hours per kg

Do not wash the bird! This significantly increases the risk of food poisoning by splashing germs around the kitchen, thorough cooking will kill any bacteria that might be present

Safe sex

Don’t get caught out this party season with an unwanted STI or unintended pregnancy. Look after yourself and be prepared. Here’s some tips to help you:

Stock up on contraception

Stock up on condoms

Know where to get emergency contraception

Know how to find a clinic

Don’t panic even if your clinic or GP surgery is closed, emergency contraception can be taken within three (72 hours) or five days (120 hours) depending on the pill you take, after you’ve had unprotected sex. Remember, preparation is the key for an enjoyable but safe festive season so don’t be caught out this Christmas.

For further information about local sexual health services www.sexualhealthnorthlincs.gov.uk or for advice call the NHS support line on 111.

Exercising in winter

Stay active throughout autumn and winter to beat those seasonal blues. Exercising not only improves your health but can drastically improve your mood, helping you feel more positive even on the darkest of days. Chose an activity you enjoy - there are plenty of exercises you can try whether you are old or young or prefer the outdoors or indoors. These include cycling, dancing, swimming, five-a-side football, archery and bowls. Even chair-based activities count as exercise. Make yourself feel good and try something new.

Here’s some contact details to help get you started:

For details of what’s available at the council’s leisure centres, visit www.northlincs.gov.uk/leisure

Walking the Way to Health (all ages) – 01724 297631 or 07717586380

Active Together (beginners and family friendly) – 01724 297270

Exercise referral through GP/health professional – 01724 291905

Do Something Different, a range of sports and physical activities for adults 16 plus with a disability – 01724 297270

For social bike rides, visit www.goskyride.com/North-Lincolnshire

For chair-based activities, visit www.bhf.org.uk

For more details on any of the above, visit www.northlincs.gov.uk/winterhealth.

Councillor Rob Waltham, chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, North Lincolnshire Council, said: “We want people to enjoy Christmas and remain well during the winter months. By taking a few simple steps such as taking regular exercise and knowing your limits when you drink, you are well on your way to remaining illness free, fit and well.

“Christmas and the winter months can be a lonely time for many, particularly the elderly and those living on their own, who may not be able to get out or very seldom receive visitors. So please spare a thought and keep an eye out on your neighbours, friends and loved ones.”

Frances Cunning, director, Public Health at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “It is all too easy to get caught up in the moment, but the consequences can be devastating. Christmas time can see unwanted pregnancies, people caught for drinking and driving, or becoming ill through not preparing food properly or washing hands regularly. It is really important to keep yourself active and well. There are lots of opportunities to stay fit indoors and outdoors. Our leisure centres offer a fantastic range of exercises to suit most people and for those less able, simply doing chair-based exercises can help. While our advice may seem obvious, to many people, it isn’t. So be prepared.”