The holidays are almost upon us but not everyone approaches this time of year with joy and celebration. Some find the season stressful. Regardless of your point of view, when getting together with friends and family to celebrate, it’s good to remember some basics that can help us all avoid the colds and flu that are also common this time of year!
Hygiene and Handwashing
Practicing good hand hygiene is paramount. Encourage frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or the use of hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol. Teaching proper handwashing to children and guests is also crucial, as it’s an effective measure in preventing the spread of diseases.
Social Distancing and Masking
For those at high risk of severe illness or those living with them, consider social distancing – something we all practiced during the height of the pandemic. While it is not currently required or recommended for the general public, you can always wear a mask for additional protection in crowded spaces. It’s a small inconvenience, but if you need it, it’s a small price to pay for additional peace of mind.
Outdoor Gatherings and Ventilation
In the PNW, many venues offer outdoor heaters. The open air helps dilute viral particles, reducing the risk of catching a pesky cold or flu. Set up cozy outdoor spaces with heaters and blankets to ensure everyone stays comfortable. For indoor gatherings, ensure proper ventilation by opening windows and doors. Consider using air purifiers with HEPA filters to further reduce the concentration of airborne particles.
Information and Vaccination
Staying informed is very important. Regularly check guidelines and recommendations from local or national health authorities like the OHA or CDC. Recommendations may change, so being up-to-date is essential for planning safe gatherings. Encourage eligible individuals to get vaccinated before the holiday season. And don’t forget your annual flu vaccination! The flu vaccine science is tried and tested for over 50 years and has mild or no side effects. According to recent CDC data, about 49% of Oregonians receive the annual flu vaccine.
Prioritizing your health will help ensure your celebrations are filled with more joy and less regret this year. Make these safety measures part of your holiday tradition to create lasting memories without compromising the health and well-being of your loved ones. For more flu facts, check out the Oregon Health Authority’s article about it by clicking here! If you need a flu vaccine, visit any local AFC Urgent Care Clinic today! We accept walk-ins, but you can also book an appointment over the phone at (503) 305-6262 or by clicking here!