During the holiday season of 2022, all of us hoped that the pandemic would be far behind us inside a year. We’re here now – and it’s not. Unfortunately, though many Americans happen to be vaccinated, as a result of sizable unvaccinated population, COVID-19 cases continue to grow. While situations are improving, the average number of deaths due to COVID-19 over the last week was nearly 1,900 per day, shares Dr. Charlene Brown, a public health expert, EverlyWell advisor, and former medical officer at the FDA. She says it's critical to enter christmas with our eyes wide open to safeguard ourselves and others.

First and foremost, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended against traveling if you're not vaccinated for COVID-19. As well as if you're, Dr. Brown recommends looking into the COVID-19 community transmission rates, test positivity rates, vaccination rates, and hospitalization rates for the reason that jurisdiction.

Furthermore, while it can be an uncomfortable conversation to possess, there are some safety questions to ask before you decide to RSVP 'yes' to some festive party or dinner. Lots of people may be put off by this kind of confrontation, but the reality is, if the host isn't prepared to answer these inquiries and settle your fears, you probably don't want to attend anyway.

Here, health experts recommend the most vital questions:

How big may be the event?

There's an impact between having a casual dinner with five good friends go to a vacation shebang with 100 employees. As Dr. Brown says, in the chronilogical age of COVID-19, size really matters, especially if the event is indoors. When the part is around the larger side, she recommends wearing your mask and looking after social distance whenever possible. “Masks are also suitable for crowded, outdoor events,” she continues. “However, the most important thing to complete would be to stick to any event size mandates supplied by the town or state where the event takes place.”

Will the big event be indoors or outdoors?

Sadly, the vaccinated badge of honor doesn't always protect you from contracting COVID-19 since breakthrough cases do happen. What this means is everyone, no matter their status, should exercise extreme care when they decide to attend an inside event this winter. Dr. Brown goes so far as to say, honestly, you need to only celebrate indoors with people within your household, per the CDC's guidelines.

“If you choose to attend an indoor event regardless of the CDC's warnings, ask the party hosts when they will need that guests wear masks or stick to social distancing measures,” she adds.

For an inside event, will safety precautions be taken?

Before accepting an indoor party invite, you shouldn't be afraid to lean in to the nitty-gritty of safety measures. In the end, attending takes on risk, and you need all of the information to mitigate your exposure. Dr. Brown says to ask about ventilation by asking questions such as these:

  • Will the doors and windows be kept open?
  • Will there be adequate air circulation?
  • Will there be HEPA filters or window fans?

How will you serve food?

By now, we know the chance of transmitting COVID-19 via surfaces is low; it's not impossible. To be secure, holiday parties should offer individual plates of food vs. buffet-style dining. “Find out if the party host will serve individual drink and food what to reduce shared touchpoints. This includes serving utensils or appetizers that need you to definitely touch the food items directly,” she continues. “It's important too to disinfect common touchpoints before, during, after the big event.”

Will vaccination be expected?

Unfortunately, the debate on vaccination is becoming highly political, so the most important question to inquire about is also probably the most heated one. Nevertheless, as Dr. Brown reminds, the vaccine is extremely suitable for everyone over the age of 12 and it is the 'absolute best way' to protect yourself and others against COVID-19. “Unvaccinated folks are at the greatest risk at group events, especially indoors. Both vaccinated, and unvaccinated individuals can spread COVID-19,” she continues. While both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals can transmit herpes to other people, unvaccinated people are contagious for any more longer timeframe of your time.

So, when the host or hostess doesn't require all guests to be fully vaccinated, consider not attending the big event or attending virtually.

Do you need testing?

While no exams are 100 percent accurate, requiring testing of all guests – vaccinated or otherwise – adds an extra layer of protection for events. In the best-case scenario, Dr. Brown says a party host will offer rapid COVID-19 tests to guests, mainly since so many are rapidly available now via Amazon, Doordash, and so on.

For much more protection, explore getting a PCR test a week before the event, isolating among, after which getting another PCR test one or two days beforehand which are more accurate results.

Will there be considered a virtual option available?

The truth is, you might not anticipate to take part in large gatherings – and that is okay, says Tori Williams, a licensed mental health counselor at Humantold. “With work at home and virtual schooling options at our disposal, virtual gatherings aren’t a foreign concept anymore,” she continues. “If there is a virtual option, you can take part in holiday festivities, guilt-free and anxiety-free. If there is not really a virtual option, you can volunteer to facilitate a Zoom or Skype call, encouraging your host to ask members of the family or friends that would have otherwise been left out of the celebration.”

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