December 9, 2020

The 2020 holiday season is quite different from any other we have known before. Beginning in November and ending mid-January, there are several tips to remember about seasonal safety.  But the most important safety advice this year is to simply follow the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines. We have put together a list of common holiday health and safety recommendations that includes virus precautions to keep you and your family out of harm’s way.  Let’s keep safety at the forefront of our minds.

COVID-19 Prevention
Holiday cheer is not the only thing you can spread during the Christmas season. This season the holidays are being celebrated in an unusual but inventive way to protect ourselves and our family members.

  • Choose Small Gatherings – Due to the pandemic, the safest way to celebrate is to have very small family gatherings, if any at all. Many families are utilizing Zoom and other video chat methods to avoid spreading the coronavirus. The CDC recommends only getting together with those who live in your household or entertaining in an area with proper ventilation (outside is best) and social distance of at least 6 feet.
  • Practice Proper Hand Washing – Wash hands constantly and limit contact with commonly touched surfaces and shared items, such as serving utensils.  Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds, and don’t forget your wrists, in between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
  • Quarantine Before Visits – If you plan on a small gathering with family, especially with older, high-risk relatives, you should plan and quarantine for 14 days before getting together. Do not visit with anyone if you have any symptoms (shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, chest pain, etc.) or are waiting for COVID test results.

Prevent Foodborne Illnesses
Make sure all food is cooked, stored, and prepared properly to prevent ingesting harmful bacteria. Wash your hands and any kitchenware after handling raw meat.

Use a Ladder
To prevent injury, always use a step stool or ladder when decorating in high places.

Eat Healthily
Reach for healthy options like fruits and vegetables.  Try to limit your intake of fatty, salty, or sugary treats.  You will thank us later!

Drive Safe
Do not drive if drowsy or intoxicated; designate a sober driver. The possibility of icy, snowy roads increases during the holiday season. Take it slow and have supplies in your car in the event you get stuck in the snow.  Think about preparing your vehicle with blankets, cat litter (for tire traction), hand warmers, an ice scraper, a snow brush, a flashlight with batteries, water, and road flares or reflective warning triangles.

Prevent Fires
The risk of fire increases because of additional cooking, candle burning, and decorating that comes with most holiday traditions. Just remember not to place flammable objects near stove tops or Christmas trees, unplug light decorations, and blow out candles before going to bed or leaving the house. Don’t leave your pets alone with open candles. Check the wires on decorations for frays or rips and do not overload electrical outlets. Purchase a tree that is labeled fire-resistant.

Secure the Tree
Make sure the tree has a stable platform so as not to cause injury if it falls on someone, especially a child. Look for broken ornaments as they can cause cuts.

Keep Your Pets Safe
Certain holiday plants are very hazardous to our furry family members if ingested. Some common examples include holly, azaleas, lilies, mistletoe, chrysanthemums, poinsettias, and gardenias. Before displaying plants inside your home, check online to make sure the plant is not known to have toxic effects. Also, keep certain table foods, like chocolate, grapes, and onions, away from your pets. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the trash can and tabletops.

Reach Out for Help
Do you feel stressed, lonely, and isolated?  Does the pandemic bring you increased fear and anxiety?  If you are having a more difficult time than usual this year consider reaching out for help.

We all hope this is our first and last holiday we will be away from our family and friends. Following these health and safety tips is your best defense against stopping the spread of coronavirus and will keep all those we love safe, healthy, and present for the next holiday season.