Winter 2020 was the season Zoom holidays. By 2021, A.J The omicron wave spoiled year-end plans. So far, the 2022 holiday season has gotten off to a rocky start with Early, severe outbreak of influenza And the Respiratory syncytial virus related cases The expected wave of Covid-19 cases is on the horizon.
With no national and local prevention guidelines in place, individuals are now on their own to measure risk and protection. However, Americans have more tools in their arsenal when it comes to protecting themselves from Covid this holiday season: vaccines, boosters, tests, masks, and knowledge of how the virus spreads. Consider the best practices, experts say, and you can party like 2019. “This will be the first year we’ve actually gone to visit our family for Christmas because we haven’t done it in the last two years because I was so nervous,” he says. Sarah Ruffa physician of family medicine at UNC Family Medicine. “There’s really no reason not to do it this year because we have all of those tools.”
Put your most vulnerable guests first
The amount of risk the group is willing to take should depend on the guest list. Think of the people who will be attending every gathering this season. the elderlythose who are Immunodeficiency or those with other medical conditionsor newborn (Vaccines are available for infants 6 months of age or older) are most likely to have severe cases of Covid-19. Take precautions to best protect them. “It makes sense to think about the most vulnerable person when you’re trying to make decisions about what precautions to take,” says Rove.
Make a plan with your attendees about precautions. Maybe you will do it all Do a quick test before When entering, maybe you’ll wear masks when you’re around grandma, maybe your host will keep the windows open, or maybe you’ll all choose to congregate outside. Getting vaccinated, boosted and wearing masks in public before gathering should be enough protection for most families, Ruff says, even those with older relatives.
Make sure you’re up to date on the latest Covid Booster (and the flu vaccine)
The most effective way to avoid Covid-19 this holiday season is to stay up to date on your vaccinations, he says Bernard CumminsMedical Director of Infection Prevention at Mount Sinai Health System. Most people qualify for a bivalent booster After at least two months Complete the first two shots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At a news conference in October, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha recommended Americans receive their boosters before Thanksgiving in order to get the most protection this holiday season. if you have recently recovered from covid, Wait three months Before boosting, Cummins says. Schedule an annual flu shot, too, which you can get on the same day you take a covid booster shot.
Be strategic with your concealment
While nationwide mask mandates have expired, it’s still a good idea to keep the N95 or KN95 masks Handy for travel purposes. Wear a mask at the airport and during takeoff and landing Or, if it’s a short ride, keep it running for the entire ride, Cummins says. “It’s relatively safe if you’re outdoors because the air is HEPA-filtered,” he says. “When you get in a taxi, when you get off the plane, when you turn off the engines, you want to make sure your mask is on.”
For train or bus travel, where the air isn’t as well ventilated as it is in planes, Cummins suggests masking the entire trip.
Ensure all guests are tested for Covid-19 prior to the event
according to CDC guidelinesIf you have symptoms of Covid-19, get tested immediately. If you have been infected, wait five days and then get tested. However, if you’ve been around other people recently in any capacity, “you can no longer tell who around you tested positive for Covid,” Cummins says. “You just assume you were exposed before your event.” he suggests Serial test In the days leading up to your party. For example, if you’re gathering for Thanksgiving, do a quick quiz on the Sunday and Tuesday before the holiday, and then again on Thanksgiving, he says.
If you develop symptoms such as fever, body aches, sore throat, cough and chills, but still test negative for Covid-19, you should consider staying home. With the prevalence of RSV and influenza, it is possible that you could risk infecting a loved one with another respiratory virus. “You shouldn’t go anywhere if you have a fever,” says Rove. “You want to make sure you’re at least 24 hours out [without] has a fever.”
For people who have a common cold, Cummins says, as long as they wear a mask, they can attend. Rav says be transparent with your family in such a situation and ask them if they are comfortable with you coming.
Be aware of certain trends of the covid virus
Since reported case data isn’t released as regularly as in the past, and it’s likely to be undercounted due to rapid tests done at home, Ruff says to Monitor. CDC community level, which measures hospitalizations and cases and provides preventive strategies for each level of community spread. You can enter the state and territory where you will be holding Thanksgiving to check community levels and determine how much precautions you will take. “If we’re going to a high-risk area, it might be helpful to wear your mask when you’re out in public around people you don’t know, and maybe choose not to wear your mask around your family who’ve all been vaccinated, but when we’re all out as a big group, maybe do it.”
For all intents and purposes, Cummins says this holiday season is a return to form. Just take extra care in the days leading up to your gathering and you can celebrate like years gone by. “Can people sit around the table again instead of Grandma and Grandpa eating by themselves in another room?” Cummins says. “I think we can.”
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