Safer Celebrations: How to Stay Safe During the Holidays
Nov 24 2020

Safer Celebrations: How to Stay Safe During the Holidays

By: Melanie Hucklebridge

The weather is changing, and as we are nearing the end of 2020, many people's favorite season is here. New Orleans is full of festivals that have gone digital this year to help keep you and your family safe. Not only are there great things to enjoy, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy the holidays safely. Good planning, awareness, and stress management are always the keys to enjoying your holidays, but now, it's good to put yourself in even safer positions than you would have before.

Plan Ahead

With any holiday or trip, it is always a good idea to have a plan for where you are going and what you plan on doing. Whether you choose to attend one of the many virtual festivals in New Orleans from the comfort of your living room, or plan on visiting family, it is important to follow some simple rules when it comes to being safe around your family. You should allow yourself a quarantine period of 14 days before major travel to make sure that you aren't sick and spreading it to your family members. While being around family is important, it is also important to know your limits when it comes to interacting with high-risk individuals.

If you plan on taking a road trip somewhere, don't forget your new essentials such as hand sanitizer and a plethora of masks, and lots of cleaning supplies in case you stay at a hotel. It is easy to forget that there is a world burning outside when you're having fun with your family, but you should still try to be aware of your surroundings and your safety while getting to your destination.

There are a lot of people who are worried about catching COVID-19 during air travel, but thankfully, it might be safer than you think. According to thehealthnexus.org, the ventilation systems on airplanes help recycle clean air incredibly frequently, so the biggest risks only come from people who might be carriers around you. They believe that people should be more concerned about waiting in the line to get on the plane than they should about being on the plane itself.

As long as you wear your mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands after touching public surfaces, your risk stays pretty low.

Just Because the Holidays are Here Doesn't Mean the Virus Isn't

While the idea of washing your hands and wearing a mask has been hammered in for the past eight months, it is still important to recognize that those things are helping stop the spread of COVID-19. Staying up to date on both vaccines and getting flu shots can help keep you from spreading more viruses to your friends and family. Children should also be monitored, especially because they are more likely to be carriers for lots of illnesses.

Washing your hands and keeping things clean not only protects you against stray viruses, but it helps prevent cross contamination with food dishes as well. As good as your Thanksgiving dinner may be, side dishes of food poisoning really put a damper on things.

If you and your family have all been careful to limit your exposure to the public, small private groups should be safer, but large family gatherings and weddings aren't as safe. It is important to recognize if you feel sick that you should stay home, no matter what.

Have Fun

The holidays should be a time for you to enjoy spending time with your family, especially even if this is the only time of year that you get to see them. Try not to start arguments about politics with your uncles, and don't criticize any of your nieces for their relationship problems. Although there is a pandemic going on, family issues should be set aside for Black Friday brawls and the day after Christmas; it's only polite.

In times like these, we need as much support as we can get, so relish the time with your family before you must go back home and quarantine. One of the best ways to enjoy the holidays is to be present with your family, even if it's just a video call or a big group chat. Sing carols with your grandma, take pictures of your nieces and nephews who are growing up way too fast, or help your mom with dinner.

This year, above all, family and safety are what is important because we are not promised next year.


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