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How to Cope When Illness Doesn't Take a Holiday Break

Stress-relieving tips may help young and old alike,,

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Holidays can bring stress as well as joy, which can be a particular concern for people managing a serious illness.

But Dr. Michelle Riba, associate chairwoman for integrated medicine and psychiatric services at the University of Michigan Health System, said there are ways to avoid and manage stress that might be helpful. Her suggestions, offered in a news release from the university, include:

  • Incorporating a healthy attitude. Do your best to maintain some routines, such as proper diet and exercise, even with the interruptions of social events and family gatherings. This is especially important for children, so parents should make sure they get appropriate amounts of sleep, food and drink as well as TV and computer time.
  • Remembering to take medications. And be sure to pack medications in carry-on luggage when flying. If necessary, contact the airline before heading out to make sure your medication passes security regulations and can be taken on board.
  • Keeping medical appointments. Whether it's a routine checkup or an appointment for a serious illness, these are important. Wellness visits can help prevent many injuries and illnesses. If cost is an issue, many hospitals have funding for people in need of money to pay for medications and hospital or doctor visits.
  • Setting limits. Set a limit for gift-giving or gift costs with family and friends.

More information

The American Psychiatric Association has more about coping with holiday stress.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: University of Michigan Health System, news release, Dec. 12, 2008

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