Holiday season health risks and how to cope with them

Monday, December 21st, 2020 00:00 |
Road accident.

Evelyn Makena @evemake_

The holidays are a great time to come together with loved ones and make merry.

There are certain Christmas pitfalls both physical and mental that can easily kill the joy of the festive season.

Taking a few precautions could help prevent health mishaps and ensure you and your loved ones are safe and healthy to enjoy the holidays.


Save for the curfew, the government has so far not announced any other travel restrictions and this means there will be a lot of movement as families get together for Christmas.

This increases the risk of contracting the Covid-19 causing virus. Hugging and kissing relatives, sitting in close proximity while travelling, touching items on supermarket aisles while shopping and gathering for the family barbeque; all these are perfect opportunities to spread the contagious coronavirus. 

Dr Githinji Gitahi, CEO, Amref Health Africa says that there is a likelihood of a spike in Covid-19 positivity rate in January due to the festivities. 

“The trend of the infections across the world and in Kenya has been that the virus spreads faster in areas that are highly urbanised due to high populations and a lot of movement.

There is likely to be a lot of movement and many congregations during Christmas thus leading to an increase in infections come January,” says Gitahi.  

In recent months, countries across the world have reported an increase in pandemic fatigue, a phenomenon defined by the World Health Organisation as demotivation to follow recommended behaviour and to seek information. Pandemic fatigue during the festive season could lead to increase in number of infections.

Road accidents

More than 3,409 people died through road crashes in 2019, according to National Transport and Safety Authority.

Statistics show that more crashes occur in the run-up to Christmas and that there is a higher chance of being involved in an accident during Christmas than any other time of the year.

By mid-December last year, there were 195 road accident fatalities reported.

According to Moses Omeri, CEO, resQ247 ltd, a firm that provides medical emergency rescue services, several factors contribute to the high number of road accidents during festivities.

With many people travelling to meet loved ones or for holidays, there are significantly higher numbers of vehicles on the roads. Similarly, more people are likely to be driving along unfamiliar routes. 

“It could be the road one has used before, but that has been altered due to constructions or one you have never travelled on before,” says Omeri. 

If travelling on such a road at high speed, there is a higher chance of getting involved in a road accident.

Over speeding, use of unroadworthy vehicles and poor visibility, especially during wet weather conditions are other factors that increase fatalities during December period.

Omeri notes that there are so many roads under construction around the country hence the need to drive at a reasonable speed throughout to allow for adequate reaction time in case of any unexpected situations.

To reduce fatalities during the festive season, Moses advises motorists to have information on the weather of their destination or route prior travelling, take a car for a check, especially if travelling for long distances, avoid night travel, especially in areas with poor visibility and to always buckle up. 

“Having your safety belt on increases your chances of getting out of crash alive by 70 per cent,” adds Omeri, who also advises pedestrians to cross the road at designated areas noting that they account for the highest number of road crash fatalities. 

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