It has been a rough year for some, thanks to COVID-19. Students have given up graduation. Many have forfeited birthdays and anniversaries. Children have given up traditional classroom settings and many are learning virtually. You might even be reading this while working from home.

Many people have adapted and figured out a good system that works to protect their family, but the holidays are coming up. Do you make an exception because you’ve limited contact with your family for the last several months? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) encourages you to wait. Don’t give in to large gatherings just yet.

Sure, it isn’t going to be easy. The holidays are the time of year when families come together and celebrate everything from Halloween to Christmas. Fall and winter offer a half dozen or more opportunities for food, family and fun. But coming together in groups outside of those you live with is when you can potentially invite in unwanted viruses like COVID-19 or the flu.

It’s important to remember that viruses spread quickly through close contact with many people, especially if those people don’t live with you. If there are a lot of COVID-19 cases in your community, there’s a chance someone at your gathering might be infected. People can have COVID-19 without showing symptoms. You can still spread the virus without symptoms.

CDC Guidelines

Keep these three things in mind:

  1. Indoor events bring people closer together, making social distancing more difficult. That increases your risk of spreading COVID-19 or the flu.
  2. Your risk can increase the longer you’re at an event or party.
  3. If people are traveling from another place, there’s also a higher risk if they’re coming from places with a high number of cases.

Here are the safest ways to protect yourself until a COVID-19 vaccine is created:

You can help prevent the spread of the flu by getting your flu shot before the end of October. Remember, it takes about two weeks for the flu shot to start working in your body.

The holiday season is right around the corner. Here are some guidelines put forth by the CDC to help protect you from the spread of COVID-19.

Pug dog in Yoda Halloween costume celebrating holidays during COVID-19 pandemic

Halloween

It’s a favorite time for many. Children and adults get to dress up as their favorite superheroes and go trick-or-treating. They also can attend holiday parties and enjoy each other’s company. However, because this year looks nothing like years prior, we want to show you how your holiday might look a little different.

If you’re going to participate in Halloween activities such as trick-or-treating or Halloween parties, the CDC recommends:

Three Dia de Los Muertos colls sitting on a small wooden bench with painted faces, clothing and shoes during COVID-19 pandemic

Dia de los Muertos

It’s a tradition many families celebrate to honor their loved ones who have passed away. It’s a time when extended families come together to create an alter (ofrenda) to their deceased family members, tell stories and honor their legacy.

If you’re planning on hosting or attending a Dia de los Muertos celebration, here are some recommendations to keep you safe:

Woman carving turkey at Thanksgiving during COVID-19 pandemic

Thanksgiving

What will Thanksgiving look like for you this year? Do you plan on hosting a small group of people for an annual Friendsgiving or forego the festivities altogether? There are ways to celebrate safely, especially if you are expecting people over who do not live in your home:

Mother daughter wear cloth masks per CDC guidelines. One mask with RealTree camo print and the other with paws and hearts to protect each other from COVID-19 pandemic

Conclusion

Some people might not be able to celebrate the holidays as we typically do, and that’s okay. If you have someone in your family who is immunocompromised or high-risk, please consider encouraging them to stay home this year. There are many alternative ways to celebrate the holidays without putting yourself or others at risk. If you do plan on getting together, please be sure to wear a mask and practice all the CDC’s guidelines to keep your family safe.