Dana Filek-Gibson rings in the new year with a public service announcement on January’s most dangerous epidemic.

Welcome to 2015! Clear the sequins from your closet, the alcohol from your system and the New Year’s photos from your iPhone: we are in a new age!

Or, at least, that’s what the calendar says. Chances are it’ll take the souls of Saigon another month to catch up with the rest of the world. Thanks to another impending holiday, January is more of a grace period in Vietnam. Recovering from the gluttonous debauchery of New Year’s, this month serves as a soothing lull in the action before giving way to Tet’s calm, wholesome energy. We spend this time convincing ourselves that salads are delicious and wine isn’t a food group. Household objects get repurposed as free weights and at home, blinds drawn, some of us attempt to keep up with Suzanne Somers on the Thighmaster. We open our closet and realise everything in it makes us look fat. Two weeks later, we realise that we are fat, a direct result of holiday parties and hotel buffets. Indeed, January is a sensitive time.

Which is why it’s important that you, dear reader, are prepared. Over the first few weeks of 2015, you are susceptible to many things, including but not limited to seasonal illness, new habits, post-holiday depression and a danger that few consider but which affects millions of people across the world every January. You may talk about it or even make jokes but this epidemic is no laughing matter: I am talking about the lingering effects of glitter.

Before we go any further, I know what you’re thinking and no, I do not mean Glitter, the 2001 romantic musical drama starring Mariah Carey. That woman has had her time. While the magical, shimmering holiday dust may have seemed like a brilliant idea in the final days of 2014, a deadly combination of drunk girls and house music have no doubt already wreaked havoc on the homes, bodies and wardrobes of much of Saigon. Left unchecked, a single twinkle on someone’s holiday sweater could turn into an epidemic – a fabulous, sparkling plague on all your outfits.

Sure, you think, it’ll never happen to me. But if I’ve seen it once I’ve seen it a million times: glitter does not discriminate. It does not see race, class or gender. It doesn’t care if you didn’t go out that night or stayed away from the women in sparkly dresses or happen to be meticulous with a lint roller. It will come after you. And faster than you can contain the situation, it will bedazzle you and everything you own.

You may have noticed it already, at brunch with friends or in the quiet confines of your own apartment. Like all contagious conditions, glitter begins with one single seed. It’s nothing, you think. This will pass. And so you attempt to brush off the shimmering fragment and carry on with your day. Little do you know your carelessness has just launched a scourge on all of Saigon that could last for weeks.

As such, I urge you to remain vigilant over the coming month: that extra sparkle in someone’s eye may literally be a sparkle in someone’s eye. Be cautious around family and friends still wearing their holiday attire. Keep a roll of Scotch tape handy at all times. And if you see something, say something: don’t let a friend go on unaware of their condition when you could be the difference between a fresh start and a twinkling, magical reminder of the past.