How to avoid holiday aches and pains

How to avoid holiday aches and pains


Heartburn, gas and upset stomach are common during the holidays, with all the rich food and beverages that people consume at parties and gatherings. Many of these discomforts can be avoided, says Dr. Aaron Coates of the Rockford Clinic Internal Medicine Department, and enjoying the season by eating and drinking in moderation is key.

“Eating small, frequent meals and limiting the amount of alcohol and caffeine you drink are the primary ways to avoid indigestion,” says Dr. Coates. “It’s also a good idea to stop eating two to three hours before you plan on lying down or going to bed to avoid heartburn.”

In addition to these tips, Dr. Coates says avoiding heavy physical exertion and tight clothing can help to prevent indigestion. Some other common culprits that could cause heartburn or upset stomach include garlic, peppermint, cinnamon, chocolate, citrus fruits and tomatoes. If you do get the holiday aches and pains, an over-the-counter antacid or heartburn medication can help to relieve the symptoms but is not a solution to chronic heartburn. “Severe or daily heartburn discomfort can be a serious problem,” says Dr. Coates. “You should contact your physician if you have chronic heartburn over an extended period of time or if you’re having difficulty swallowing.”

If you’re vomiting, try eating ice chips or drinking small sips of tea, clear sodas such as Sprite, broth or clear sports drinks to prevent dehydration, signs of which include excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination or dizziness. Gradually introduce solid foods such as crackers, toast, eggs, rice or gelatin as you improve. Contact your physician if you’re unable to keep liquids down for 24 hours, if the vomiting persists beyond two to three days, if you become dehydrated or if you vomit blood.

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