This year has tested our patience and resilience among other attributes as a Country and globally as a species. Heading into the Holidays, we're faced with another test. COVID numbers continue to spike, along with hospitalizations and death tolls. We are faced with a decision: Is it worth the risk of transmitting the virus to see loved ones?
We also know beyond the shadow of a conspiracy that indoor gatherings represent a major transmission risk. Public health officials are pleading families to stay at home and instead visit with family virtually. Models predict a further spike after Thanksgiving related to travel and family gatherings. Will your loved ones be among the statistics? We certainly hope not, here are some tips to improve your chances of preventing spreading COVID amongst your family.
If 10 people gather, and one person has the virus, the chances of spreading it to the whole family are high. The likelihood is especially high when you consider spending hours together in a confined, poorly ventilated space, some of that time spent shoulder-to-shoulder at the table exchanging air with your entire extended family. If Thanksgiving could be celebrated outdoors or through a mask, this risk would be greatly reduced, but even if masks are worn indoors, when everyone is the closest - around the table, masks will be off. Reducing total exposure time and increasing air circulation / filtration is a worthy goal.
1. Physical Distancing is Ideal
Illnesses are not transmissible across video calls. For this reason, this is the safest way to celebrate the holidays without unnecessary exposure to those outside of your household. This is especially true with children. Notice where the children's hands are above. Children are not as likely to show symptoms, but they are highly-likely to transmit the virus to grandma.
2. Maximize Masks While Indoors
Gathering indoors without masks with our current COVID statistics is akin to driving drunk down the highway without a seatbelt. The risk is vastly greater than the reward, especially if there are elderly family members present. Mask up whenever you are indoors among people outside your household.
3. Hand Hygiene is Key
If you are outside your household for any reason this season, it is imperative to practice excellent hand hygiene by washing your hands often, especially before touching your face or food, along with after using the restroom.
4. Sanitize Often
Carry a small bottle of spray sanitizer (here is my favorite, available locally at Natural Grocers) in your pocket or purse and use it at least twice per hour while outside the home. Sanitize when entering and exiting buildings and vehicles. If your hands are visibly soiled, wash your hands or use a cleaning wipe. Remember to sanitize after using a cloth towel outside your home.
5. Boost Your Immune System And Avoid Ultra-Processed Food And Drink
Check out our COVID-19 Prevention Strategies blog article for more ways to boost your immune system along with foods and drinks to maximize and avoid for peak immune function.