STAY SAFE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
We’re in the holiday season. It is fun to meet with your loved ones, wine and dines, and forget the many hassles of life. But that shouldn’t be at the expense of your health now, should it? Well, there are a set of guidelines detailing how to maintain safety at your seasonal gatherings. These guidelines are recommended by the CDC.
Apart from the well-known precautions like wearing face masks, and keeping safe distances, other new strategies have been introduced as well. These include observing how your guests have behaved in recent weeks, having small gatherings, and ensuring that the duration of your gatherings is short, among others.
In this article, we look at some ways in which you can stay safe during the holiday season.
Gatherings should be held in the open
Clinical studies have shown that outdoor activities carry lesser risk compared to indoor activities.
Let’s take the COVID-19 pandemic for example. The SARS-CoV-2 is airborne and easily spreads indoors, especially in buildings that are poorly ventilated.
It is easy to maintain physical distancing when outside. Space is larger and there’s plenty of airflows. These factors help to decrease the spread of the virus.
It is important to note that wind disperses the particles of SARS-CoV-2 whether you’re six feet away from the next person or not. So, you must wear your mask. This will protect you from respiratory droplets that may be infected by the virus.
Is the weather outside cold? Well, you have to get creative here. Put on your hats, jackets, and gloves. You can also pull out your blankets. This way, you can stay safe even while with your loved ones.
If you want to dine out, then never forget that dining outdoors is far better than indoor dining. You must put on your mask in between meals, as this is when the risk of contracting the virus gets higher.
Do not spend too much time at gatherings
The severity of a COVID-19-related sickness depends on the quantity of the virus that you have been exposed to. As a rule of thumb, the less time you’re exposed to a potentially-infected person, the lower your risk of falling ill from the disease.
Your chances of contracting a high or small amount of virus depend on several factors such as ventilation, airflow, viral load, susceptibility, and whether masks are worn by other people at the gathering.
The theory is a simple one. The more time you spend indoors, the higher your risk of contracting the virus or spreading it evenly.
Limit the number of people invited to each gathering
If there’s plenty of people around, then there’s also plenty of chances that you could contract the virus. To minimize the risk, you should invite very few people to your party or gathering. That way, both you and your guests can be safe.
According to experts, each gathering should not exceed 10 people or fewer.
Take note of the most recent behavior displayed by your guests
The thing about the pandemic is that it is very difficult to find two people who agree on what is safe or what is unsafe.
And so, you must gauge the behavior of your guest(s) as the holidays approach.
Have they attended any large event before coming to yours? Do they love outdoor dining or are they the indoor kind? These are some simple questions that you can ask them.
Converse with your guests openly and honestly. Inquire from them what activities they’ve been up to lately.
Honesty is very important if people must stay safe and free from the pandemic during the holidays.
If they have a high risk, you can suggest a safer visit. You may also advise them to take a rapid diagnostic test.
Masks are very important. Wear them
Wearing the face mask and practicing social distancing is key to lowering your risk of getting the coronavirus during the holidays and beyond. The coronavirus is airborne and spread mostly through respiratory droplets. By wearing a mask, you’ve added an extra layer between your nose and the droplets coming from other people’s noses.
The fact is that wearing a mask protects people around you, as well as yourself. The mask drastically reduces the viral load that you make contact with.
Wearing an N95 mask will drastically lower your risk, compared to a surgical mask or a standard cloth mask. However, the N95 masks are reserved for the frontline workers (the healthcare professionals), so it may be harder for you to get them. You can go for the KN95 masks. They’re better off than the cloth mask.
Wear your mask both indoors and outdoors. Why? Because sometimes, you may find yourself in an environment where you can’t distance yourself from others.
Take your hand hygiene seriously
All surfaces that are frequently touched should be sanitized regularly. These include television remotes, refrigerators, and doorknobs. It is also important that you wash your hands very well.
Handwashing is a very important way to protect yourself from the pandemic during the holiday. Wash your hands thoroughly. Wash your hands when you’re coming from outside, after using the restroom, before having your meals, and whenever they’re dirty.
Hanging out with your family and loved ones during the holidays is something most people cannot afford to miss. However, your health and safety are more important than anything else. The guidelines detailed in this article are CDC-approved. Adopting these tips will minimize your risk of getting the coronavirus while you spend time with your loved ones.
“COVID-19: Holiday Celebrations.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html.