Submitted by Suzanne Corbett, STLSportsPage Food/Travel Editor
It is on everyone’s mind– and the media is splashing it all over, so let’s talk turkey about staying safe from COVID-19 during the Thanksgiving gatherings. High travel numbers are predicted and just as sure as the world, once naps are over after the Thanksgiving feast, and the last turkey sandwich has been eaten, there will be news stories about what a super-spreader Thanksgiving was.
Well it doesn’t have to be. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) hopes their doctors will NOT be seeing you with the virus so they have put together some ideas on how to stay safe.
And while we’re on the subject of Thanksgiving, don’t forget to check out my article on how to make a unique turkey cheese spread. If nothing else, it’s fun to look at: CLICK HERE.
Here’s the information from the AAP:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Guidelines for a safe Thanksgiving
Many families look forward to getting together with relatives and friends over the holidays and may feel safer this season as more people are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Children younger than 5 years old are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and though children ages 5-11 years can get vaccinated, it takes two weeks after the second dose to be fully protected.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers a list of ways families can celebrate more safely this holiday season:
- Celebrate with fully vaccinated family and friends. Limiting gatherings to fully vaccinated guests is the best way to protect young children who are not yet vaccinated, or individuals who have weakened immune systems. Encourage loved ones who are eligible to get fully vaccinated before gatherings. For loved ones who are not vaccinated, consider joining by video chat for traditions such as cooking a favorite dish, opening gifts, or sharing words of gratitude before the meal.
- Do not host or participate in any in-person festivities if you or anyone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is still at risk of spreading it to others; has had any symptoms of COVID-19 within 48 hours of the gathering; is waiting for viral test results; or has a known exposure to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
- Urge guests to stay home if they have symptoms of COVID-19. They should get tested if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- The safest way to prevent the spread of the highly contagious delta variant is for vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear masks at all indoor gatherings with others.
- Keep the gathering small and short. Keep your guest list as small as possible and reduce the amount of time you would usually visit.
- Open windows for better ventilation. If weather permits, gather outdoors.
- Wear masks while shopping indoors, especially in areas with substantial or high COVID-19 transmission rates. Avoid bringing children under 2 years old with you during holiday shopping trips, since they are too young to wear masks, or go when stores are not as busy.
- Consider an outdoor treat exchange. Another way to share the holiday spirit is to prepare traditional recipes for family and neighbors. Enjoy the treats outdoors with some hot cocoa or cider.
- Remind children to wash hands often and keep hand sanitizer within reach.
- Public health experts discourage people who are not fully vaccinated from traveling for holiday gatherings. Families who must travel and have children who are not fully vaccinated should choose the safest travel options for their group.
- If your child is too young for the vaccine, consider traveling by car with members of your household who are vaccinated in a private vehicle, if possible. Wear a mask at gas stations and rest stops. If you must travel by air, be careful around large groups clustered security lines and concourses, wear masks in airports and on planes, and hang back until lines have thinned..
- Call your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns, such as if a family member is elderly or immunocompromised.
Stay safe this holiday season and your family will be even more grateful for your traditions in the years to come.
More information is available at HealthyChildren.org:
CDC’s Guidelines for Thanksgiving:
Safer Ways to Celebrate Holidays
Holiday traditions are important for families and children. There are several ways to enjoy holiday traditions and protect your health. Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible.
Here are safer ways to celebrate the holidays:
- Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination such as young children by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated.
- Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated.
- Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission.
- Outdoors is safer than indoors.
- Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
- If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
- Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit CDC’s Travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family. CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.
- If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s domestic travel or international travel recommendations for unvaccinated people.
- If you will be traveling in a group or family with unvaccinated people, choose safer travel options.
- Everyone, even people who are fully vaccinated, is required to wear a mask on public transportation and follow international travel recommendations.
- People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated and have received an additional dose. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
- You might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
- If you are gathering with a group of people from multiple households and potentially from different parts of the country, you could consider additional precautions (e.g., avoiding crowded indoor spaces before travel, taking a test) in advance of gathering to further reduce risk.
- Do NOT put a mask on children younger than 2 years old.
By working together, we can enjoy safer holidays, travel, and protect our own health as well as the health of our family and friends.