Although we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this holiday season feels different than last year. As of mid-November, the Centers for Disease Control reports approximately 60% of the United States population has been vaccinated, mask-wearing has become commonplace, and it's highly likely that most of us are much better at washing our hands than we were a few years back! Last year at this time, vaccinations weren't available to the general public.
In 2020, many of us spent quiet holidays at home. This year you may be planning on seeing friends and family. There are precautions you can take to help keep you and your family safe not only in relation to COVID-19 but also in protecting your general health and wellness.
- First and foremost, we strongly encourage those to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you are eligible. This is the best way to keep yourself and those that may not be able to get vaccinated safe. Voyage Healthcare would be happy to help if you're getting your first dose, second dose, or are in need of your booster dose. Booster doses are now available for anyone 18 or older and have completed their second dose at least six months ago. Please bring your vaccine card along to your appointment!
- If you will be celebrating the holidays with friends and family that are not fully vaccinated, wear a properly fitting mask. Masking has been proven to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Masking is also required for air travel and public transportation. Make sure to always bring a few extra masks whenever you are out and about in case a loved one has forgotten theirs.
- If you are feeling under the weather and have symptoms of COVID-19, or have been around someone who has COVID-19, get tested! COVID-19 testing is free and readily available in most communities. Voyage Healthcare offers COVID-19 testing at our Osseo clinic. Stay home if you are sick.
- If there are opportunities to hold your gathering outdoors, celebrate outside! We encourage you to bundle up and enjoy the fresh air! Outdoor gatherings are safer than being inside, especially in crowded environments.
- Stay hydrated! If you are traveling, bring a water bottle in the car, plane, or train. Travel gets us out of our routine and although we may be great at drinking water during "normal" days, traveling has a tendency to dehydrate us. According to an article published by the Harvard School of Public Health, staying hydrated helps to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. If you choose to celebrate with holiday cocktails, we'd encourage the habit of alternating cocktails with glasses of water.
- When traveling, fruits and vegetables may be hard to find. If possible, pack some nutritious snacks so you don't have to rely on what you find at the closest convenience store or nearest fast food restaurant.
- Sleep! Sleep is critical to keeping your body healthy. It is during sleep that your body repairs and recharges itself. People who get quality sleep tend to eat fewer calories, and display improved productivity (which is always key during the holiday season)!
- Try to keep your exercise routine intact. Although you may not be able to get to your gym or have all your regular fitness equipment when traveling, it's always easy to get out for a quick jog or walk. Plus, bring the family - being outdoors is a great way to burn off the kid's extra energy and get away from electronic devices for a while.
- Keep washing your hands thoroughly and often. And, we encourage you to keep hand sanitizer with you in case you are in a situation where you can't easily find soap and water.
- Manage your stress. The holidays are a notoriously busy time of year and stress has a tendency to creep in. Learning how to manage stress is a fantastic life skill and especially important to practice during the holidays. There is an abundance of meditation apps that can help you stay grounded and keep your stress under control. Explore apps such as Calm or Headspace for quick moments to reset and take a few deep breaths. Remember, it's okay to say no! It is a busy time of year and sometimes the best thing you can do to stay healthy is choose a nice quiet night at home.
Voyage Healthcare wants to be your partner in health. If you need to be seen by one of our providers, we encourage you to make an appointment. Happy Holidays to you and your family!