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Children are having video call during the holidays.

Celebrating the Holidays with Safety in Mind

By Dr. Candice Gabriel, PDC Pediatrics

This year’s holiday season may have us returning to traditions we celebrated before the pandemic, but families still need to protect each other from COVID-19 and other viruses.

Holiday traditions are important for children mentally and socially. At the same time, families need to take precautions to protect those who are at high risk of severe infections, such as older family members and those who have compromised immune systems.

Here are some tips from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep your season merry.

  • Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination, such as young children, by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated, wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth when you are in public indoor settings
  • Wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission regardless of your vaccination status.
  • Remember that outdoor activities are safer than those held indoors.
  • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
  • If you are sick or have symptoms, do not 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. The Virginia Department of Health has a list of testing sites at this link.
  • If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit the CDC’s travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family. The CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.
  • Consider wearing a mask if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.

Here are some tips for those looking for a lower risk way to celebrate:

  • Celebrate with members of your own household. Plan and cook your holiday meal together as a family, decorate the house, play games, and watch holiday movies.
  • Find creative ways to share the experience remotely. Prepare a favorite recipe with extended family over video chat. Share what you are thankful for, light candles, sing songs, play instruments, share stories, and open gifts together in your group video session.
  • Drop off meals or cookies or gifts on the doorsteps of friends and family. There will be some people in your family and neighborhood who may not feel safe going out for the holiday, but who would appreciate a doorstep delivery. Make sure you let them know in advance you are coming.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.