How to help someone suffering from holiday depression

For many people, the holidays are a fun time of year but for some of us, it can be filled with sadness, loneliness and anxiety.

Fred Bodimer
December 03, 2019 - 2:31 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Should you stay home from holiday parties if you are feeling sick?  How can you stay on your diet during the month of December?  And what can you do if you are feeling a bit down over the holidays?   We get the answers in the most recent edition of Health Matters Presented by SSM Health.

One of the big topics discussed in this week's show is how to keep babies and infants safe this holiday season from the RSV virus.  Dr. David Wathen, SLU Care pediatrician at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, tells us it is best to not kiss babies if you are feeling sick.

A registered dietician at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital in St. Charles -- Shital Mehta -- helps us stay on our diet during the holidays.

Also, we get tips on how to deal with holiday depression with Carrie Wichlenski, a clinical social worker at SSM Health DePaul Hospital.

And we talk with our co-host Dr. Fred Buckhold, a SLU Care general internist with SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, about a new survey that finds most of us don't know what to do if we come across a true emergency.  Dr. Buckhold has some advice.

Health Matters Presented by SSM Health -- November 30, 2019 -- 4pm

1.  Dr. FRED BUCKHOLD, SLU Care general internist at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital.  A new poll finds a majority of Americans are unprepared to help in a medical emergency.  Dr. Buckhold tells us what to do if you come across someone choking, or having a heart attack, or a shooting victim, or an automobile accident.  His advice is to first, make sure you are safe.  Second, call 911.  Third, never move an injury victim in case of a neck injury.  Nephritis is the most over-indexed cause of death in both Missouri and Illinois.  What is nephritis?  It's a form of kidney disease.  A new study shows the Keto Diet can help prevent the flu.  Really?  Dr. Buckhold is skeptical.  He also tells us about the Keto Diet in general and what it does to our bodies -- both pro and con.

2.  Dr. DAVID WATHEN, SLU Care pediatrician at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital.  Doctors are warning adults to avoid hugging or kissing babies if they are feeling sick over the holidays due to the risk of spreading the RSV virus.  What is RSV?  How common is it?  Who is most at risk?  Infants and the elderly are the most at risk -- plus those with immune deficiencies, heart and lung problems.  A common cold in adults could lead to serious breathing problems in infants and many end up hospitalized on ventilators and oxygen.  What are the symptoms?  When do you call the doctor?  What is the treatment?   What is the best form of protection?  Good hand hygiene says Dr. Wathen.  That's why he says the holidays are the perfect time to use SKYPE or FaceTime to see infants and the elderly -- avoiding physical contact until you are feeling better.  What other illnesses are out there right now causing trouble?  A lot of respiratory viruses, Dr. Wathen says.

3.  CASSIE WICHLENSKI, clinical social worker at SSM Health DePaul Hospital.  For many people, the holidays are a fun time of year but for some of us, it can be filled with sadness, loneliness and anxiety.  What are the signs of depression, grief and stress?  Isolating more than usual.  Over-indulging in alcohol.  Changes in mood.  Why is this such a common thing over the holidays?  What can you do to cope with holiday stress and depression?  Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.  Get enough sleep.  Watch what you eat.  Keep a regular fitness schedule.  Seasonal depression is also a big problem. And set boundaries if there are family conflict concerns.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  If anyone is feeling depressed and think they need help, please call the SSM Health Central Intake Line at 314-344-6700.

4.  SHITAL MEHTA, registered dietician at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital - St. Charles.   We've survived the first big food holiday of the season -- Thanksgiving.  So how do we enjoy ourselves and still stay on our diet?  Mehta says it's okay to take a cheat day on your diet -- just don't make it a habit.  What are some guidelines we can use to keep our holiday eating under control?  What tips do you have for eating all the goodies at holiday parties?  Take a smaller plate, make sure your food choices are as colorful as possible, eat before going to a party, watch what you drink. How long should uneaten food remain out on the kitchen counter?  How long should you keep leftovers in the refrigerator?  What about exercise?  Does regular exercise allow us to cheat on our diet over the holidays?

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