In an article for SHAPE, Jaclyn Hendricks outlines how to follow new CDC guidelines for a safe holiday season. While COVID-19 cases are on the decline in the United States, it’s important to still be safe. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have released new suggestions. In the CDC guidelines, they talk about ways to avoid a possible surge of the virus.
Though it’s only October, plans for holiday have likely begun in a lot of households. For those celebrating together at indoor festivities, air circulation will be key. “Bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible,” states the CDC guidelines for the holidays, which were published Saturday on the organization’s website. “You can use a window fan in one of the open windows to blow air out of the window. This will pull fresh air in through the other open windows.”
Experts agree that the continues flow of fresh air into the space may help lower risks. One possible way “to clear virions from the air in a room is to simply open two windows to allow the virions to escape and replace with fresh, uninfected air,” Rand McClain, M.D., the chief medical officer of LCR Health previously told Shape.
COVID-19 can be spread in three main ways. The virus can spread through the air via small particles projected from the infected person through exhaling, coughing, and sneezing. These particles have the ability to enter your eyes, nose, and mouth. Furthermore, the virus can be spread by touching contaminated surfaces.
Based on CDC recommendations, the most effective way to prevent infection it to celebrate socially distanced while outdoors or virtually. Another measure families and friends can take is planning ahead of time. Topics like masks, vaccinations, and amount of people attending should all be discussed and agreed upon before the festivities.
And it should go without saying, but just in case: The CDC advises against hosting or attending a gathering if you are infected with COVID-19 or if you display symptoms, which can include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath, among others.
Though vaccination against COVID-19 (when eligible) is recommended by the CDC, it’s advised for non fully vaccinated people to be masked when indoors at public places. Additionally, travel guidelines discourage traveling when not fully vaccinated. One is fully vaccinated two weeks after they’ve received their second dose of the two-shot Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. For the single-dose Johnson and Johnson inoculation, one is fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving.
This holiday season will mark the first that many are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. And while booster shots will also be available to some special populations (e.g. the elderly, immunocompromised folks), the COVID-19 vaccines, in general, remain the best form of protection. If you have yet to be vaccinated, please consider doing so if your holiday plans includes gatherings with loved ones near and far. It doesn’t just help you, but it protects them, too.
The information in this story is accurate as of press time. As updates about coronavirus COVID-19 continue to evolve, it’s possible that some information and recommendations in this story have changed since initial publication. We encourage you to check in regularly with resources such as the CDC, the WHO, and your local public health department for the most up-to-date data and recommendations.