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Former Health Chief Onishchenko Gives Holiday Advice

Limit your alcohol consumption, engage in sports and avoid different climatic zones during the upcoming New Year holidays, advises Onishchenko. Andrei Makhonin

Guennady Onishchenko, former chief sanitary inspector and now an aide to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, has advised Russians not to travel to exotic locations over the New Year holidays, as it could be dangerous for their health.

The stress caused by traveling to significantly different climate zones in the middle of winter is "a serious ordeal, even for the most healthy of people" said Onishchenko, who spent 17 years working at the watchdog responsible for protecting Russians from poor quality food and consumer goods.

Russians traveling to Africa were also at risk of picking up tropical diseases such as cholera, he added, Interfax reported Friday, in a nod to those who spend the holidays abroad on exotic hunting and photo safari trips.

With a winter season that can last for up to five months, many wealthy Russians enjoy celebrating New Year in warmer climes, though Onishchenko said they should instead make the most of what their country has to offer.

"Spend New Year in the same climate zone. A Good New Year's holiday is one surrounded by family, in the countryside. If you spend your holidays in the city, take a walk in the park, unwind, engage in sports," Onishchenko said, adding that the consumption of alcohol did not feature highly on his list of New Year pastimes.

Onishchenko also spoke of his dislike for the long New Year holiday period, though "thank goodness, it is already getting shorter."

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