ASHEVILLE, NC – Thanksgiving, November 23, 2023 – COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections can spread through holiday gatherings and travel. Prior to the COVID pandemic, respiratory viral infections like the flu and RSV have been around. However, COVID has made us aware that we can take steps to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses when getting together for the holidays. Therefore, persons more susceptible to getting sick from respiratory viruses have become more cautious.
Here’s some general recommendations:
- Outdoor gatherings are safer than indoors; small gatherings are safer than large; and indoor gatherings are safer in larger spaces with the windows and doors open to allow fresh air to circulate
- People who are positive for COVID-19 or do not feel well should stay home
If people are at high risk to get sick:
- Consider getting the updated COVID shot, a flu shot and, if indicated, the new RSV vaccine 1-2 weeks before getting together
- Consider wearing a high-quality medical mask during indoor gatherings
- Wash hands frequently
Be extra protective if you are having guests from out of town. Here’s some advice:
- Visitors should test for COVID before attending gatherings outside the house with at-risk people
- Visitors should consider wearing a high-quality medical mask in indoor public spaces and when on public transportation
- Visitors can refrain from going to indoor gatherings about a week prior to arrival
- Have a plan in place for access to COVID-19 medicine
Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, tells USA Today.com that COVID-19 cases should increase over the winter as they have the past 3 years like other respiratory viral infections. The risk of transmission can also increase during the upcoming holiday season when many people get together indoors.
Listen to the full report below:
Contact: Dr. Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, email@example.com