As we look forward to winter break and holiday celebrations, many families are wondering what events and social gatherings are considered safe. It is important to be aware that this is a high-risk time for you and your loved ones to catch winter illnesses, including COVID. New and existing COVID variants continue to pose a risk to our community. We are anticipating a new surge of COVID cases in the coming weeks due to increased travel and holiday celebrations.
Incorporate layers of safety to minimize risk to those you love if your family plans to travel or attend social gatherings. These strategies will help protect against all winter illnesses, including all variants of COVID. Layers of protection include:
- Getting Vaccinated: Vaccines remain the strongest protection against serious COVID illness. Everyone 5 years and older should get two doses of the COVID vaccine and everyone 16 years and older should get a booster. We also encourage everyone 6 months and older to get an annual flu shot to protect against flu, which is beginning to circulate in our community.
- Wearing a Mask: It’s recommended that you wear a high quality, well-fitting mask if you are mingling indoors with anyone not vaccinated or who hasn’t recently tested negative for COVID.
- Gathering in a Ventilated Area: It’s often rainy and cold this time of year in the Pacific Northwest, but outdoor settings are safest for gatherings. If you are gathering indoors, it’s a good idea to open windows, limit the guest list to keep it small, and try to and keep the gathering short.
- Getting Tested: Everyone should get tested for COVID before traveling or gathering with those outside your immediate household. Once you return from traveling, try to limit interactions, and consider getting tested for COVID 3-5 days after returning home.
- Changing Plans if Symptoms Develop: If anyone in your household develops cold, flu, or COVID symptoms, cancel plans until the symptomatic family member tests negative and feels better.
- Washing Hands: Don’t forget to encourage frequent hand washing to help stop the spread of germs!
From all of us at Allegro Pediatrics, we wish your family a safe and healthy holiday season.