Wellness During COVID-19

Health and safety during the Thanksgiving holiday

November 16, 2021
african american woman holding turkey near family during thanksgiving celebration

The holidays are here, and it’s a great time to celebrate with loved ones. But, you may be worried about how gathering for Thanksgiving can impact your health. The good news is, there is a lot you can do to enjoy family and friends and stay safe this holiday season.

Start with the basics

No matter what your plans are for turkey day, hand washing should be on your itinerary. Hand washing is not exciting or new, but it is effective. Frequent hand washing is essential for limiting the spread of germs and viruses. Wash hands under warm water with soap for at least 20 seconds, and make sure to rub your hands together, too; the friction will help kill more germs. If you’re feeling festive and you need a cue for how long to wash – sing jingle bells.

Keep it breezy

Coronavirus spreads through the air, so holding social gatherings outside or in locations with good air circulation reduces the spread. The CDC recommends that when possible, holiday events should be outdoors. If you’re indoors due to weather, keep windows open for air circulation.

Get vaccinated

If you’re eligible for the vaccine, it is one of the most important steps you can take to reduce your likelihood of getting and spreading the virus. It also helps protect those around you that may not yet be eligible for the vaccine, like the very young and immunocompromised.

Mask up and avoid crowds

Wear well-fitting masks if you’re indoors. Masks help reduce the risk of spreading airborne viruses. If you’re wearing reusable masks, wash and rotate them regularly. If you’re having guests over, keep some disposable masks on hand just in case. 

Masks aren’t generally required for outdoor settings unless you’re in a crowded place and can’t maintain a safe distance. 

Keep your immune system running smoothly

A healthy diet, sleep and exercise support your immune system, the body’s natural defense system. While it can be tempting to stay up late and skip your workout, you may pay for it in the long run. To keep your immune system firing on all cylinders, fill your plate with plenty of vegetables and fruits, get 7-8 hours of quality sleep, and work in some movement every single day. 

Play it safe

If you aren’t feeling well, don’t chance it – stay home. If you still have some time before your event, consider a rapid Covid test so you can know for sure. It can be challenging to skip parties and family meals, especially with the isolation of the past two years, but your health and the health of those around you is worth it. If you miss the big day, schedule a repeat on another day when you’re feeling good. 

Get creative and enjoy

This Thanksgiving may not look like years past, but we can all enjoy spending time with loved ones and stay safe in the process with some creativity. And who knows, you may even make some new traditions that stick around long after the pandemic. 

Concerned you might have COVID-19? Use our online assessment tool to learn what to do next. 

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