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Healthy Holiday Tips

The Carroll County Health Department will be closed on Friday, December 24th and Friday, December 31st for the holidays.

Holidays are an important time for family and friends to come together. To ensure the happiest and healthiest celebrations for everyone, it’s important to keep in mind that gatherings spread viruses like COVID-19 and the flu. Know your risk and take steps to protect yourself, your loved ones, and others you are in contact with.

Assess your risk and use these tools to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can.
  • Get your booster if it has been more than 6 months since your last Pfizer or Moderna, or more than 2 months since your Johnson and Johnson dose.
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others. 
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
  • If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
  • If you host or attend a gathering, consider others’ vaccination status and masking indoors. Currently Carroll County is in high transmission.
  • Consider outdoor gatherings if weather permits. Outdoor settings are very low risk.
  • If you are inside, increase ventilation as much as possible.
  • Test to prevent spread to others.
    • Testing can give you information about your risk of spreading COVID-19.
    • Consider using a self-test before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household.
      • A positive self-test result means that you have an infection and should isolate to reduce the risk of spreading disease to someone else.
      • A negative self-test result means that you may not have an infection. Repeating the test with at least 24 hours between tests will increase the confidence that you are not infected.
      • Ask your healthcare provider if you need help interpreting your test results.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.

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.

Special considerations:

  • 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.

Adapted from the CDC

Other holiday safety tips:

  1. Manage stress. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out. Find support, connect socially, and get plenty of sleep.
  2. Eat healthy. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables which pack nutrients and help keep you full. Allow yourself some treats, but limit your portion sizes. Get tips and recipes from the American Heart Association.
  3. Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: Clean, separate, cook, and chill. Holiday safe cooking tips from the FDA
  4. Stay active. Get friends and family out for a walk, exercise while watching holiday specials, dance to holiday tunes, or play active video games.
  5. Don’t drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger. Choose not to drink and drive and help others do the same.
  6. Buckle up every time. Make sure children are sitting in the right safety seats, no matter whose car they are in. Don’t overdress children; make sure car seat straps are snug, then put a coat or blanket over the child if needed. Car Seat Tips
  7. Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots.
  8. Keep an eye on kids and pets. Avoid dangerous toys, decorations, and holiday plants. Click here for more information on child safety and pet safety during the holidays.
  9. Be fire safe. Most house fires occur in the winter, so don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, food cooking on stoves, or lit candles on when no one is in the room. Keep your tree and decorations safe with these fire safety tips.

Find more tips and holiday e-cards at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 12 Ways to Have a Healthy Holiday Season page.