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  • Nov 28, 2022

Stay Safe this Holiday Season

While most of us look forward to getting together with our friends and families over the holidays, it’s more complicated these days.

While most of us look forward to getting together with our friends and families over the holidays, (except for that one relative who never helps clean up), it's more complicated these days. Protecting the people we love is an important part of celebrating together, especially with flu and respiratory illnesses on the rise and COVID lurking.

You can reduce your risk, improve your health, protect each other and enjoy the holidays with these recommendations from Dr. Lou Ann Bruno-Murtha, CHA Chief of Infectious Disease.

Don't Be the Relative Who Brings COVID/Flu/RSV This Holiday

Get Boosted! COVID-19 vaccines become less effective over time and newer variants spread easily. So protect yourself and your loved ones before the holidays.

The bivalent booster is designed to protect you from newer variants. Research shows these new boosters can protect you against severe disease, hospitalization, and death and also decrease the risk of developing long COVID if you do get sick. If you are at least two months beyond your last shot or COVID infection, don't wait.

And, experts are predicting a bad flu season. Get your flu shot at the same time as your booster for a healthier holiday season!

Stay home if you have symptoms of a cold, flu, COVID or anything else on the day of the event. Consider skipping it if you were exposed to a sick person three to five days beforehand and there is an at-risk individual present. It may feel like a hard choice, but you could be saving someone's life, especially if your celebration includes older or very young, more vulnerable relatives or friends.

You can test ahead of time for COVID with home tests and you can ask your friends and relatives to do the same. Plan on completing at least two home antigen tests as one negative home antigen test is not reliable enough to exclude COVID. There is no home test for flu or RSV so pay attention to how you feel.

Opening a window or turning on a fan at the event will make your celebration safer with good ventilation.

Be mask friendly! A good fitting mask protects you and also lowers the spread of infections.

And don't forget to wash your hands with soap and water before eating and after using the restroom.

These safety measures can help, but won't completely eliminate your risk. If you start feeling sick after the gathering, call your provider. There are medicines for COVID and flu if you start them early in the course of illness.

We hope you have a happy and safe holiday season!

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