8 COVID Precautions You Can Leave Behind This Holiday Season
By clothing-bag, 15/05/2022

8 COVID Precautions You Can Leave Behind This Holiday Season

Our second holiday season under the shadow of COVID-19 is just around the corner. And, although the pandemic is not over and it is still important to take precautions, this year many are vaccinated, so we are in a better situation than last year.

Gone are the days when we knew nothing about the coronavirus and therefore needed to be on the lookout for everything.

We now know that the main way people become infected is through exposure to respiratory fluids that carry infectious viruses. This means:

• Inhaling air that contains the virus

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• The virus being exhaled onto your mucous membranes (such as when someone coughs on you)

• Touching small droplets or particles of the virus with your hands and then touching your nose, eyes, or mouth

What does that mean for the things we used to do that we may no longer have to do? The things that we were afraid of and that don't give us so much anymore?

It's time to reset our COVID-19 concern meter, as well as a word of encouragement to keep up with the latest announcements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), its local health officials and trusted medical professionals, so worry less can happen more than once a year.

Eight things we can stop worrying about

1. Clean all surfaces at least once a day

Remember when we thought we needed to use Lysol wipes to sanitize packaged foods and takeout containers?

Since then, we have learned that the coronavirus does not survive well on surfaces, so there is a low risk of spread from food products or packaging. The CDC notes that additional disinfection is probably not necessary in general, unless someone who has been in your home in the last 24 hours has a confirmed coronavirus infection. If you continue to clean your house regularly, regular soap and detergents will remove most virus particles on surfaces without a problem.

But if someone in your household is more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19, it doesn't hurt to clean more often. Also be sure to wash your hands frequently.

8 precauciones para el COVID que puede dejar atrás en esta temporada festiva

2. Wear gloves

Remember when we used gloves to use the gas pump, since we imagined that hundreds of possibly infected people had touched it before us?

The CDC now notes that for the general public, gloves aren't necessary unless you're cleaning or caring for someone who's sick. The best way to protect yourself from germs after you go out is to wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer.

But keep wearing your cute black gloves on your lunchtime stroll, because it's cold in California when it's minus 70 degrees!, and we need to avoid seasonal affective disorder now that it gets dark at 5 pm

3. Handshakes

Remember when we thought we'd never shake hands again?

It is still true that if someone has a coronavirus infection, coughs and shakes your hand, and then puts their hand near their nose, eyes, or mouth, they may catch it. But if you're not infected, or you're not coughing into your hand, or if you wash your hands before you rub your hands all over your face, then you should be fine.

But don't feel pressured to start shaking hands again if you thought the elbow strike was fantastic.

4. Face masks worn outdoors

In general, outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities because higher airflow means you're less likely to encounter concentrations of the virus in the environment.

Per CDC guidelines, you do not need to wear a face covering in most outdoor settings, especially if you continue to practice social distancing. The exception is if you are in an area where coronavirus transmission rates are high, or if you are participating in activities where you will be in close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated, or if you are in a large crowd.

Some public health officials, such as the one in Santa Clara County, still recommend the use of sanitary masks if you are in crowded areas in general. Los Angeles County requires face coverings to be worn outdoors at events with 10,000 or more individuals and recommends them in some other outdoor situations. It's also worth remembering that most young children are not yet fully inoculated, and people with weakened immune systems should take all the precautions recommended for those who are not vaccinated.

5. Share food

RIP Souplantation, but was that a hype now that we understand buffets and family-style food sharing aren't big risks for COVID-19?

Eating together can be risky, especially if you're indoors and haven't been vaccinated, because the act of chewing can spread coronaviruses through respiratory droplets and aerosols. But there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through food. So if you've already decided to eat together, it's okay to split a dessert without worrying about having separate plates.

Many other germs can be spread by sharing food. But this is not a story about other germs.

6. Water activities

Remember when we shamed people for going to the beach?

We now not only know that it is safer to be outside than indoors, but we also understand that the virus does not spread through water. That includes swimming pools, hot tubs, and water parks.

If you get close enough to be breathed in by someone infected in a hot tub, that's one thing. But if you're swimming within several feet of someone who has COVID-19, you're probably fine.

7. Savings on good quality face masks for healthcare workers

Remember when we thought we needed to make sanitary masks out of socks, bandanas, or underwear so we could save N95 masks for healthcare workers?

Health workers now have sanitary masks and, hopefully, it will stay that way. So feel free to purchase KN95s and other high-quality disposable face coverings. The CDC also recommends sanitary masks with two or more layers of breathable, washable fabric that fit snugly against your face.

8. Long lines (or impossible obstacles) to get appointments for vaccinations

Remember when you used your skills to get BTS concert tickets by getting your elderly family and friends those coveted vaccination appointments? And then they had to wait an hour in line to be inoculated?

You can now go to most pharmacies and clinics to get your COVID-19 antigen, even without an appointment. Everyone over the age of 5, at this time, is eligible to receive a vaccine. California also recommends booster doses for those who want them to give people extra protection before holiday travel and gatherings, and those appointments are easy to make, too.

If you and everyone else in your circle is inoculated, worrying less could become your new normal.

If you want to read this article in English, click here.

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