Can I Pass the Potatoes? Advice For a COVID Holiday Season

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When it comes to celebrating the holidays this year, it’s hard to know what’s safe and what’s not. We asked Joseph Allen, MD, FAAFP, with Premier Health Family Care of Vandalia for guidance. His advice:

  • The virus spreads through the air from particles that leave your mouth when you cough, sneeze, or talk. It spreads most often among those who don’t realize they have it because they don’t have any symptoms. That’s why masks are important.
  • While all masks are important, some are better than others. A surgical mask is better than cloth, which is better than a neck gator. N95 masks are only effective if they’ve been fit-tested. If not, don’t use an N95 mask.
  • If you’re hosting people for the holidays who live outside your home, it’s reasonable to ask them to wear a mask. The mask is most important if someone at the gathering is high risk. Otherwise, a piece of normalcy is a real benefit.
  • There is no evidence that food is associated with spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Don’t go crazy cleaning. We’ve learned COVID-19 is a weak virus once it gets outside the body. The odds of picking up the virus from something you touch is very, very low. Sanitizing surfaces isn’t as crucial as once thought.
  • Gather outside if possible. If not, open some windows. And don’t worry about the virus spreading through your home’s air circulation system. The virus doesn’t live long enough to make it through the filtration on your furnace.
  • If you’ve already had the virus and recovered completely, you’re no longer contagious, and it would be very rare for you to get it again. It’s safe for you to be mask-free.
  • With so much focus on the virus, it’s understandable to feel scared. But this constant fear can really weigh on you. To ease the stress, try avoiding the news and social media. It’s good to get things as close to normal as possible. For example, it was found that having kids go back to the classroom with their friends had a real mental health benefit that is hard to measure.
  • We do things every day that put our lives at risk. Remind yourself that unless you’re high risk, your chance of dying is greater just by driving on the highway. Keep this virus in perspective.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.