Health experts provide tips on holiday safety amid COVID surge
As the US enters the holiday season, health officials are urging fans of traditional festivities to practice health safety while they weigh whether or not to engage in their favorite seasonal customs amid the pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that while gatherings with family and friends are enjoyable, such in-person events can put all involved at risk of contracting COVID-19 or the flu.
So, it suggests enjoying gatherings only with persons in one's own household.
That said, those who feel they must spend the holidays with family and friends outside of their own household should take steps to keep themselves and their loved ones as safe as possible, the CDC says.
With these precautions in mind, the CDC has issued the following recommendations for those engaging in upcoming Thanksgiving Day celebrations:
Wear a mask
-Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
-Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
-Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.
Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you
-Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread COVID-19 or flu.
-Keeping 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Wash your hands
-Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
-Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands.
-Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
CDC suggestions for those participating in holiday gatherings are as follows:
In addition to following the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer, take these additional steps while attending a Thanksgiving gathering.
-Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
-Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
-Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
-Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets and disposable food containers, plates and utensils.
If having guests to your home, be sure that people follow the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer. Other steps you can take include:
-Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.
-Limit the number of guests.
-Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
-Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
-If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
-Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
-Have guests bring their own food and drink.
-If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.
Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.
If you do travel:
-Check travel restrictions before you go.
-Get your flu shot before you travel.
-Always wear a mask in public settings and on public transportation.
-Stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your household.
-Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
-Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
-Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.
The CDC recommends the following alternative activities as replacements for in-person gatherings:
Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you
-Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually.
-Have people share recipes and show their turkey, dressing, or other dishes they prepared.
Watch television and play games with people in your household
-Watch Thanksgiving Day parades, sports, and movies at home.
-Find a fun game to play.
-Shop online sales the day after Thanksgiving and days leading up to the winter holidays.
-Use contactless services for purchased items, like curbside pick-up.
-Shop in open air markets staying 6 feet away from others.
-Safely prepare traditional dishes and deliver them to family and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others (for example, leave them on the porch).
-Participate in a gratitude activity, like writing down things you are grateful for and sharing with your friends and family.
Click here for more information from the CDC on the safe navigation of holidays amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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