It was winter 2020. Minimize holidays. In 2021 Omicron’s year-end plans for the increase have been disrupted.. So far, the 2022 holiday season is off to a rocky start. Earlier, a strong increase in flu And The same virus of the respiratory system Issues from An expected wave of Covid-19 cases is on the horizon..

In the absence of national and local precautionary guidelines, individuals are now on their own to measure risk and protection. But, Americans have more tools in their arsenal to protect themselves from Covid this holiday season: vaccinations, boosters, tests, masks, knowing how the virus spreads. Consider these best practices, experts say, and you can celebrate like 2019. “This Christmas will be the first year we will visit our family because we haven’t done it the last two years because I was too scared,” he says. Sarah RuffFamily Medicine Physician at UNC Family Medicine. “There’s no reason we can’t do it this year because we have all these tools.”

Keep your most vulnerable guests in mind

The amount of risk the team is willing to take should be based on the guest list. Think about the people who attend each meeting this season. The elderlywhich are Those who are not immune or have other health problemsor newborns (Vaccines are available for children 6 months of age or older) are at high risk for severe cases of Covid-19. Take precautions to protect them better. “When you’re trying to make a decision about what precautions to take, it makes sense to think about the person who is most vulnerable,” Ruff said.

Plan with attendees for precautions. Maybe you all will Take a quick test before When you come in, maybe you wear a mask when you’re next to Grandma, maybe your host opens the windows, or you all choose to gather outside. Vaccination, immunization and masking before the meeting should be enough protection for most families, including those with older relatives, Raff says.

Make sure you’re up to date on your Covid booster (and flu shot).

He says the most effective way to avoid Covid-19 this holiday season is to keep your vaccinations up to date Bernard RoadsMedical Director of Infection Prevention at Mount Sinai Health System. Most people qualify for bivalent stimulation. At least two months later Completing the first two shots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha at a press conference in October Recommended Americans receive their boosters before Thanksgiving in order to maximize protection this holiday season. If you have recently recovered from covid, Wait three months Cummins says before adding. Also schedule your annual flu shot, which you can get on the same day as your Covid booster.

Be strategic with your mask

While nationwide mask mandates are out of date, it’s still a good idea to keep the N95. KN95 masks On hand for travel purposes. Wear a mask at the airport and During take off and landing Or if it’s a short flight, keep it for the entire flight, Kamin says. “If you’re in the air, it’s relatively safe because the air is HEPA filtered,” he says. “You want to make sure your mask is on when you take a taxi, when you get off, when they turn off the engines.”

For train or bus travel, where the air is not as well ventilated as on planes, Cummins suggests wearing a mask for the entire trip.

Make sure all guests are tested for Covid-19 before the event

according to CDC guidelinesGet tested right away if you have symptoms of Covid-19. If exposed, wait five days and then test. But, if you’ve been living with other people in any capacity lately, “you can no longer tell who in your neighborhood has tested positive for Covid,” Cummins says. “You think you’re exposed before your event.” He points out A series of experiments In the days leading up to your party. For example, if you’re gathering for Thanksgiving, do a quick test on the Sunday and Tuesday before the holiday, and once at Thanksgiving, he says.

If you develop symptoms such as fever, body aches, sore throat, cough and chills, but still test negative for Covid-19, consider staying home. Because RSV and flu are circulating, you may be at risk of infecting a loved one with another respiratory virus. “If you have a fever, you don’t have to go anywhere,” Ruff says. “You want to make sure you’re at least 24 hours [without] fever”

For those with the common cold, Cummins says they can participate as long as they wear a mask. In such a situation, Ruf says, be open with your family and ask them if they’re comfortable coming over.

Know some of the trends of Covid

Because data on reported cases is not being released as regularly as it used to be and may be an undercount due to rapid at-home testing, Ruff said, keep an eye on the case. CDC community ratingIt measures hospitalizations and cases and provides prevention strategies for each community transmission. You can enter the state and county where you celebrate Thanksgiving to check community standards and determine how careful you are. If you’re going to a high-risk area, it may be helpful to wear a mask when you’re out in public with strangers, and you’ll probably choose not to wear a mask around your family. They’re all vaccinated,” says Raph, “but when we all go out as a big group, maybe you will.

Anyway, Cummins says this holiday season is a return to form. Take a little extra care in the days leading up to your reunion and you can just celebrate the past years. “Can people sit around the table again instead of having grandma and grandpa eat alone in another room?” Kamin says. “I think we can.”

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