We know that holiday gatherings may cause some concerns this year as cases of respiratory illness rise across the country. With both RSV and influenza surging unusually early, hospitals are beginning to fill up in all parts of the US. This may drive you to change your traditions, but there are still ways that you can celebrate!
Based on CDC and health official recommendations, here are eight tips on how to adjust your holiday plans to keep you safe and reduce the chance of spreading illnesses, like COVID-19, RSV, and the flu:
Stay home if sick. If you are sick or have any flu-like symptoms, please do not attend or host a gathering.
Get vaccinated when eligible. Protect yourself and those not yet eligible for vaccinations, such as young kids, by getting yourself vaccinated as soon as possible for the flu and COVID-19.
Sanitize high-touch surfaces. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, like doorknobs, countertops, and mobile devices, and wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
Move your gathering outside. This allows for more room to distance from others while also increasing airflow, which can help decrease the spread of the viruses.
Limit the number of people. The smaller you can keep the gathering, the better. The more people attending and/or traveling to attend, the higher the risk that someone may be or get sick and infect other individuals.
Ventilate well. If you are gathering inside, make sure to ventilate well by opening doors and windows, running HVAC systems, and using high-quality air filters.
Ask individuals to test before coming. While vaccines are extremely effective, we do know that breakthrough cases of COVID-19 can happen. Thus, asking your guests to get tested and verify they are negative will add an extra layer of protection to your holiday gathering. Check your local drugstores for rapid COVID tests.
Communicate clearly. Have a conversation with all your guests so you are all on the same page with the safety precautions you would like everyone to follow.
There are so many easy ways to keep your family safe while celebrating your favorite holidays. Plus, you’ll not only be creating new traditions but also keeping your loved ones and any immunocompromised individuals around you healthy.