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Health

Keep yourself together for Black Friday shopping surge
Be mindful of physical and mental health
 
Published Tuesday, November 26, 2019 10:12 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

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Keep calm, look out for your health and carry on during Black Friday, the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.

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Bagging the best Black Friday deals do not have to cost you your health.


Dr. Maria Rivell, who practices internal medicine at Novant Health, has a few tips for you to get the most out of Friday’s shopping experience so you can walk away with your list complete and your health intact.  


Pack hand sanitizer along with your other essentials before hitting the stores. While it may be easier to concentrate on your shopping list while giving little thought to everything you touch throughout the early hours of the morning, think of everyone else who has touched the same thing. Crowded spaces likely have a high concentration of bacteria. You will probably be surrounded by people coughing and sneezing in a relatively tight area.


Studies indicate that the level of bacteria present on an elevator button is nearly 40 times greater than that on a public toilet seat. Let that marinate. As you navigate shopping centers on Black Friday, you will probably touch escalator handrails, shopping cart handles, and then your face will itch. You may get something in your eye. Cue the spread of germs.


Keep in mind, some stores offer sanitizing wipes at the entrance. If you are using a shopping cart, take advantage to wipe down the handle. Does it seem excessive? Yes. However, Rivell cautions that the extra step is better than catching a bug that could spoil your holiday fun.


“After touching something that’s so frequently used, it’s a good practice to just go ahead and sanitize right after,” she said. “But it can’t hurt to also sanitize after being around people who have been coughing or sneezing. When in doubt, sanitize.”


Stress can squash your fun just as easily as germs. Rivell advises establishing goals and giving yourself a time limit to reduce stress.


“Make a list of what you want and stick to that list,” she said. “A list will help keep you focused on what you came for and it will help map out the priorities for the shopping trip.”

Rivell recommends taking a break after shopping for two or three hours, then taking a break to reduce anxiety.


“I understand that finding the perfect present can be stressful and people look all over for it,” she said. “But it’s important to set limits and give yourself a break somewhere in that time. Have a plan to shop for two or three hours and make sure to give yourself a mental break from it all.”


While the hunt for the elusive “perfect present” can easily become a burden, remember that the best parts of the holiday season do not come wrapped in paper, a stocking, or under a tree.


“The holidays should be focused on family time and not on surrounding your kids with expensive toys,” Rivell said. “This is time away from work and spending time with family or loved ones is the best kind of gift you could give them.”


Temperatures heading into Friday call for a low of 41 degrees – chilly weather to stand outside as you wait to rush in for the best deals.


“The most important thing people could do to stay warm is to dress in layers,” Rivell said. “Gloves, mittens, scarves, jackets and toboggans are all something to bring if planning to be out in the cold. You’d rather have too much than not enough. If a person doesn’t keep their body temperature up, it can lead to hypothermia, which can lead to a lot of serious health issues.”


Finally, stay hydrated. The last thing you need to do is give yourself a headache, or worse, pass out from dehydration. Other signs include rapid heartbeat, confusion and irritability. Opt for water versus soda or sugary drinks throughout your shopping adventure.


“Typically we tell people to drink six to eight 8-ounce cups of water a day, but even drinking half of that portion helps prevent dehydration,” Rivell said.

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