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Bright Futures

Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's

November 04, 2020, Wassim Ballan, MD
Celebrating the holidays without inviting COVID-19 home

The holidays are right around the corner, and families are facing difficult decisions about how, when and where to celebrate. Ongoing quarantining, masking, social distancing and other measures are beginning to wear thin, but with much of the world experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, there’s been an increasing risk. Particularly as people begin to embark on holiday-related travel.

As you make holiday plans, consider the following:

  • Get a flu shot. There are a lot of reasons to do so, but having two respiratory illnesses circulating will likely hit vulnerable populations the hardest. Getting vaccinated is the best defense against serious illness from influenza.
  • Observe the trifecta of COVID-19 safety.
    1. Whenever possible, maintain at least 6 feet between individuals, and keep an eye on your kids to make sure they’re doing the same.
    2. When you’re out in public or in close contact with people outside of your immediate household, wear a mask.
    3. Practice good hand hygiene. Wash regularly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If washing isn’t an option, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. (Sing Happy Birthday twice with little ones if you’re having a hard time getting them to wash their hands for 20 seconds, too.)
  • Keep gatherings small. The more friends and family members you add, the higher the risk to everyone in attendance. Limit celebrations to immediate family – or even just your household if anyone in your home is high risk – and use FaceTime or Skype to connect with loved ones outside the circle.
  • Know who’s at risk. Be mindful of those who are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications – like elderly friends and family, people with underlying health issues and anyone who is immune-compromised. Make an extra effort to protect them.
  • Steer clear if you’ve had symptoms. Don’t travel, attend gatherings or expose others if you’ve had any symptoms in the past 14 days, or if you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.
  • Go virtual. Whenever possible, take part in holiday traditions virtually. For instance, many retailers are already offering Black Friday deals online. Don’t visit crowded stores – it’s more convenient to shop from home anyway! If you do need to head out, wear a mask, wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.

We’re all fighting “caution fatigue” after more than eight months of coronavirus precautions. But these efforts don’t just protect you – they protect the entire community. Stay safe: We’ll get through this together!

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