The holidays are always a joyous time of year. From being able to stuff your face with all of your favorite foods, to seeing your loved ones, opening gifts, and so much more, the holiday season brings lots of fun and cheer, including being able to spend time with your loved ones. Although the holiday season is rapidly approaching, some might say that it is best to stay home due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Travelling and being close to family members during the holiday season might not only put you at risk, but a loved one as well of catching COVID-19. With this virus being as prevalent now as it was back in March, it is important to take the right steps and precautions if you do decide to spend the holiday season with family members. Although many researchers are against the idea, we understand that everyone needs to get out and see their family to get back to some form of normalcy.
What Are the Risks If Contracting COVID-19?
Knowing the symptoms, risks, and other precautions when it comes to this virus is crucial!
To start off, you should become familiar with what exactly COVID-19 is. COVID-19 is a strain of the coronavirus that is spread through tiny droplets that someone can release by sneezing, coughing, or even talking. The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 by researchers is to be well-informed of it and to take the precautions necessary to ensure not only your safety, but the health of others as well.
What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?
There are many different symptoms that coincide with COVID-19, and while they may sound like common flu symptoms, it is important to get tested for the virus if you are worried you’ll be a threat to your loved ones around you. Symptoms of COVID-19 can show up as little as two days after exposure to fourteen days.
Some of the symptoms can include:
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of taste or smell
- Nausea and vomiting
With the growing number of cases rising throughout the United States, COVID-19 is predicted to have more symptoms than what is listed. The CDC continues to modify the symptoms list to keep everyone updated, so you can get tested if you feel you’ve come in contact with the virus.
Is it Safe to Gather During the Holiday Season During COVID-19?
Get Go breaks down the pros and cons to spending the holidays with family and friends!
Is it safe to gather at family functions during the COVID-19 pandemic? Many people disagree and believe that it will do more harm than good and others are deciding between lowering their number of guests and practicing lots of sanitation and hand washing in order to have some sort of normalcy in life. The holidays used to be a time of cheer and fun with friends and family, but with the rapid spread of the COVID-19 cases rising globally, it can be difficult to figure out what you should ultimately do. Let’s break it down and list the pros and cons of each to help you make your decision.
Pro: Seeing Family Helps to Make a Normal Holiday Season
There’s nothing more normal than spending the holidays with friends and family. Between seeing distant family members that haven’t been around in years, to just seeing grandma and grandpa, it can be reassuring to know that the holidays are still normal during a time such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeing family would help to boost the spirits of many individuals that are struggling with loneliness and even just missing seeing their relatives every day. This can help with the mental health of many people struggling to come to terms with self-quarantining and feeling alone during this time.
Con: COVID-19 Can Easily Spread
The major downside to seeing family is that it is very easy for COVID-19 to spread. COVID-19 spreads through tiny droplets that you can release when sneezing, coughing, and even just talking, which can easily spread to other family members and infect them if you’re unaware you have been in contact with the virus or not. Someone can contract the virus if they are in close contact with other people who are not social distancing, so it is advised to stay away from large group gatherings, or to only gather with people who have been self-quarantining.
Pro: Delicious Food to Look Forward To!
Depending on what your family makes for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other holiday during this cheerful season, sometimes the one thing that someone can look forward to is some good food. The food during these holidays is an essential part and it makes the holidays worth looking forward to, along with spending time with your loved ones.
Con: COVID-19 Can Spread Due to Improper Food Handling
The downside to gathering with family to enjoy a delicious meal is the fact that with improper food handling, such as not washing your hands when preparing food, and even from everyone touching the same serving bowls or plates while filling up their own plate with delicious food. If you still want to get together to see your family, it is recommended to follow the basic steps for food safety, like proper hand washing, no cross-contaminating, and other steps to ensure that your loved ones are safe from coming in contact with COVID-19 through touching food and utensils without proper hand washing.
Pro: Travelling to See Family Members That You Haven’t Seen in a While Can be Exciting
There’s nothing more fun than going on an exciting road trip. Whether you’re travelling to the beach, going to a fun amusement park a couple hours away from your home, just visiting your family out of state, or just out of town for the holidays can be fun. Seeing all of your aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, or even your parents can make for an exciting time full of catching up to do and holiday spirit.
Con: Travelling Can Cause More Harm Than Good
Before deciding if travelling outside of the state, or just outside of your town to visit family is a good idea this holiday season, first think about and research the infection rates of COVID-19 in your area first, then the area you’re travelling to. COVID-19 cases can be rapidly worse in another area than yours, or vice versa, which could be a bad idea, especially if you’re going to see family members with preexisting health conditions. COVID-19 has devastating effects on the elderly, along with people that already suffer from health conditions, so if you’re worried, it is best to stay home during the holiday season, or just gather with people that you know aren’t infected and are actively self-quarantining.
The Final Verdict: Stay At Home
When it comes down to it, it’s better to be safe than sorry when protecting yourself and your family and friends
According to many researchers, it is strongly advised to avoid large social gatherings with friends and family during the holiday season. From potentially infecting family members with the virus, to rapidly spreading germs and not social distancing, holidays with family or friends can be troublesome. The escalating cases of COVID-19 that are rising globally can easily spike and reach an all time high during the holiday season.
If you still want to see your family members during the upcoming holidays, it is best to follow the rules and precautions that are given to have a fun, yet safe holiday. It is strongly encouraged to wear face masks at all times besides eating, sanitize commonly touched surfaces often and practice proper hand washing techniques, and if possible gather outside, but if you can’t, have some ventilation in your house or apartment, such as simply opening a window.
Consider who you want to pick to have over or go visit as well. This “pod” of people can just be immediate family that you live with or know has been social distancing and self-quarantining, or even just friends or roommates that you live with. Figuring out your own pod of people is essential to your health and others with knowing where everyone has been, who they have come in contact with, and even just knowing that they’ve been practicing proper hand washing, wearing a mask the correct way, and much more.
Although the holidays are a little different this year, it is important to stay safe now more than ever. If you feel uncomfortable meeting with extended family this year, then just get together with your immediate family or roommates, or you can even have a virtual family dinner for something different! We know it won’t be the same, but with your help and contribution to preventing any further spread of COVID-19, we can all get back to some sort of normalcy hopefully next holiday season.