In Summary
  • If you are going to spend time at the beach with family, ask some of them to take a long beach walk with you.
  • Wilbroad Makumbi, a physiotherapist, says aerobics is the way to go.

Today – Christmas Day – sets into motion an entire week that most of us have been saving for throughout the year. It is in this week that we get visits from friends and relatives, renew our bonds of love, and eat to our fill. However, over this season, there are some things you should be on the lookout for if you do not want to find yourself in the emergency room of a hospital.

Accidents at home
There is a possibility that you will have children over for a visit. This means there will be a lot of running around the house. Sarah Tumwebaze, a marketing and communications personnel and a mother of two toddlers cautions parents to be extra careful.
“Since we have a one-year-old baby, my husband and I decided not to have a Christmas tree this year because we feared he would pull it down. We have concentrated on decorating with Christmas lights but after we found the baby biting them, we put them high up on the wall.”

Accidents in the kitchen
On Christmas morning, many kitchens look like a war zone, as anyone who has a cooking skill would like to show it off. With many cooks in the kitchen, it is inevitable that the floor will be slippery.
Shanita Nakiwala says: “Last year, as we were preparing matooke, we discovered that there were some ripe ones on the bunch. I decided to cook the ripe bananas separately. As I peeled them, somehow, one of the peels ended up in the middle of the kitchen floor. My cousin stepped on it as she was carrying a saucepan of hot groundnut sauce. As she struggled to stay upright, the sauce poured on her feet. We had to rush to the clinic to treat her burns.”
Beware of accidents in the kitchen, especially those related to fire and electrocution. Try to make sure that the floor is dry at all times, especially if it is tiled so that there is no occasion for anyone to slip on it.

Nakiwala advises that special attention should be paid to the clothes used for lifting saucepans off the fire. “In many homes, these are neglected and sometimes, when it is time to lift the saucepan we look around for pieces of paper. A frayed cloth or piece of paper easily transmits heat. Invest in two or three small dish towels for that particular purpose. In most markets, these towels cost Shs1,000 a piece.”
Also, while it is good to have sharpened knives, make sure that your thoughts are on the task ahead to avoid cutting yourself.

Overeating and food poisoning
Last Christmas, Claire Asingwire was helping out in her uncle’s clinic when a seven-year-old child was brought in by her mother. “Her stomach was bloated and she really seemed to be in pain because she was breathing with difficulty. The child confessed that she had been eating since morning. The doctor recommended an enema and after the child visited the toilet for a bowel movement, she felt better.”

Since you are not going to die next week, try to limit your eating. Nowhere is it written that you must have a taste of everything. The same goes for children. Besides bloating, they may suffer chocking from gorging down plates of food.
To avoid food poisoning, do not store raw food and cooked foods in the same compartment of the fridge. Also, thoroughly wash your hands and chopping boards after you have finished cutting any kind of meat on them. If there are any leftovers from the huge Christmas lunch, warm them up before they are served to the family.

Hangover
Since this is a time when we meet with old friends and relatives who we rarely have time for during the year, there is the risk of drinking too much as we laugh over old memories. There is a mysterious way the drinks keep on flowing as the conversation gets crazier. “If you are the beer or whisky taking kind, tamper the drinking spree with glasses of water to keep yourself dehydrated,” Samuel Kimumwe, a waiter at Mike’s Bar in Entebbe advises, adding, “If you love taking wines, go for the light coloured ones – white wines – because their effect takes long to be noticed.”
Before beginning a drinking spree, it is wiser to eat carbohydrates that will slow down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, such as sandwiches or even plain bread. If that does not work and you get hangover anyway, start the morning with a glass of water and a banana (bogoya).

Stress from family
Deborah Nakku, a counsellor with Streams of Living Faith Ministries, advises that one should remain calm during this season. “Some people will take it upon themselves to criticise you, from the way you dress to the way you are bringing up your children. In order to keep the peace and in line with the season of love, try to ignore their jibes. If you must answer, tell them you appreciate their advice, and then, move on,” she advises.
Dwelling on negative people will suck the joy out of your week, yet this is the one time in the year where you can really relax and enjoy your family. Listen to them, take out the wise advice and discard the rest. Merry Christmas!

Staying healthy
Do not fall into a food coma. The fact that it is the Christmas week does not mean you should stint on having a good and healthy work out. To make it more fun, you can skip out on your usual strict exercise regime and instead take a walk. If you are going to spend time at the beach with family, ask some of them to take a long beach walk with you.
Wilbroad Makumbi, a physiotherapist, says aerobics is the way to go.

“It should be fun and all inclusive. Also, family fun games should be a priority for the family, such as badminton and dodge ball. The more active ones can play rugby, five a side or three a side. Fun exercises challenges are a plus too, such as pushups, sit ups, star jump, and jumping jack challenges.”
These exercises should be spread throughout the week. Make a time table so that everyone has something to look forward to.
For those who love having fun at night, raid the night clubs and make sure you spend at least an hour dancing to burn off the extra calories you have consumed during the day.

gnantume@ug.nationmedia.com