Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Myths and mistletoe: A holiday health quiz

With Christmas just days away, there's no time for proper meals, so instead you're grazing on sugar cookies and candy canes. No time for the gym, either, so your only exercise is crossing your fingers and hoping you don't wake up Jan. 1 with an extra 10 pounds.

Guess what. You probably won't. Researchers say you're more likely to pile on just a pound or so over the holidays — but you'll probably never lose it.

Let's dispel a few other holiday health myths with our quiz:

1. Your only option for lunch is a quick sandwich from the mall's food court. What's the better choice?

A. Ham on rye with mustard and lettuce

B. Turkey on a croissant with swiss

C. Roast beef on a hoagie roll with cheddar and mayo

D. Doesn't matter, they're all about the same.

Answer: A. With 2-3 ounces of ham, it has about 300 calories versus more than 500 for the turkey (blame the croissant and cheese) and 600 for the roast beef and cheddar. By the way, deli turkey, ham and roast beef all have about 30 to 40 calories per ounce.

2. Name the most likely of health problems to send people to the hospital emergency room during the holidays?

A. A dislocated hip

B. Skipping prescription medication

C. Allergies

D. Flu symptoms

Answer: B. People get distracted and forget their meds, or they want to avoid bothersome side effects while traveling or partying.

3. Speaking of the flu, who needs a flu shot?

A. Only people who have chronic illnesses

B. Only the elderly

C. Only students who live in dorms

D. Only those who are 6 months of age and older

Answer: D. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone needs an annual flu vaccine except for young babies — and those with a severe egg allergy, as the vaccine is made using egg protein.

4. How long does it take the flu vaccine to be protective?

A. Two hours

B. Two days

C. Two weeks

D. Two months

Answer: C. It takes two weeks after inoculation, so don't wait for everyone around you to get sick to get the vaccine.

5. How long can you safely leave your holiday ham, turkey and deviled eggs on the buffet table at room temperature?

A. Half an hour

B. One hour

C. Two hours

D. Indefinitely; they're fully cooked.

Answer: C. After two hours at room temperature, organisms that can cause food poisoning start to grow.

6. True or False? If your dog eats a leaf from the poinsettia plant, it could kill him.

False. Poinsettias, holly and mistletoe aren't as toxic as many people think. They might cause vomiting and diarrhea, but are not likely to be life-threatening. The exception, according to Tampa veterinarian Stuart Rosenburg, is when small dogs vomit so much they become dehydrated, warranting immediate medical attention. Check out

7. What's one of the most effective things you can do to prevent illness?

A. Leave town for a colder climate

B. Cover your mouth with your hand when you cough

C. Drink eight glasses of water a day

D. Wash your hands frequently

Answer: D. Wash with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday. Covering your cough is also important, but use a tissue or cough into your sleeve, not your bare hand.

8. True or false: If your kids are really hyper, it's because they've been dipping into the cookies and candy — again.

False. While there are many reasons to limit sugar (tooth decay and obesity among them), authors of an analysis published in the British Medical Journal say there is no link between sugar and hyperactivity. The kids probably are just excited to see Santa.

9. True or False: After two or three beers, if I don't feel drunk, I'm safe to drive.

Answer: False. After two beers, you probably aren't legally drunk, but you've had enough for your judgment to be impaired, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. After three beers, coordination, ability to track moving objects and steering all are impaired.

10. True or false: Holidays are dangerous times for people who are depressed, because the rate of suicide always goes up.

Answer: False. Several studies have shown that suicides actually decline during holidays, perhaps because there's more family around to help offer support. But traffic- and alcohol-related deaths go up at holiday time, so be careful out there.

Myths and mistletoe: A holiday health quiz 12/21/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 9:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. The winner of 'Survivor: Game Changers?' It has to be Jeff Probst


    But Tampa Bay fans are more interested in whether local lawyer and ex-Buccaneer Brad Culpepper came out on top. After winning five - count ‘em five - challenges Culpepper made probably the most serious error in taking Sarah Lacina. the 33-year-old police officer from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to the finals with him.

  2. To catch a ring of poachers who targeted Florida's million-dollar alligator farming industry, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set up an undercover operation. They created their own alligator farm, complete with plenty of real, live alligators, watched over by real, live undercover wildlife officers. It also had hidden video cameras to record everything that happened. That was two years ago, and on Wednesday wildlife officers announced that they arrested nine people on  44 felony charges alleging they broke wildlife laws governing alligator harvesting, transporting eggs and hatchlings across state lines, dealing in stolen property, falsifying records, racketeering and conspiracy. The wildlife commission released these photos of alligators, eggs and hatchlings taken during the undercover operation. [Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  3. Trigaux: Amid a record turnout, regional technology group spotlights successes, desire to do more


    ST. PETERSBURG — They came. They saw. They celebrated Tampa Bay's tech momentum.

    A record turnout event by the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, held May 24 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, featured a panel of area tech executives talking about the challenges encountered during their respective mergers and acquisitions. Show, from left to right, are: Gerard Purcell, senior vice president of global IT integration at Tech Data Corp.; John Kuemmel, chief information officer at Triad Retail Media, and Chris Cate, chief operating officer at Valpak. [Robert Trigaux, Times]
  4. Take 2: Some fear Tampa Bay Next transportation plan is TBX redux


    TAMPA — For many, Wednesday's regional transportation meeting was a dose of deja vu.

    The Florida Department of Transportation on Monday announced that it was renaming its controversial Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan will now be known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. But the plan remains the same: spend $60 billion to add 90 miles of toll roads to bay area interstates that are currently free of tolls. [Florida Department of Transportation]
  5. Hailed as 'pioneers,' students from St. Petersburg High's first IB class return 30 years later


    ST. PETERSBURG — The students came from all over Pinellas County, some enduring hot bus rides to a school far from home. At first, they barely knew what to call themselves. All they knew was that they were in for a challenge.

    Class of 1987 alumni Devin Brown, from left, and D.J. Wagner, world history teacher Samuel Davis and 1987 graduate Milford Chavous chat at their table.