Protecting Your Health at Holiday Gatherings

  • Dec - 01 - 2022
  • Elixair Medical

Senior man in wheelchair being pushed up to table for Christmas mealThe holidays are here, and for many people, that means getting together with family and friends. While spending time with loved ones is one of the best parts of the season, it’s still important to keep in mind the importance of protecting your own health and well-being—especially if you already struggle with respiratory issues. If you’re planning to attend some holiday gatherings this month, keep reading to learn a few ways you can protect your health while still spending time with those you love.

About This Year’s Cold and Flu Season

In early November, the CDC warned about rising cases of respiratory illness across the United States. Specifically, they noted a surge in flu, RSV, and other seasonal viruses, as well as COVID-19 cases. Most of these illnesses have been most severe in children and senior citizens, but if you have existing respiratory health issues, these viruses can be serious regardless of how old you are.

Southern states have reported positivity rates over 20% in recent weeks, primarily of the H3N2 subtype of flu virus. This subtype is known to cause more severe illness in young children and the elderly. In the Midwestern and Middle Atlantic states, the 2009 H1N1 virus is becoming more prevalent. RSV has risen in all areas of the United States except the Southeast and South Central states.

Regardless of what area you’re in, there’s a good chance that there will be a high number of respiratory illnesses being spread at holiday gatherings. So, what can you do to protect yourself? Here are some recommendations.

Get Vaccinated

One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from serious respiratory illness is to ensure that you’re up to date on your vaccines. This includes the most recent bivalent booster for COVID-19, which targets both the original virus and more recent variants, and your seasonal flu shot. These two shots alone can do a great deal to reduce your susceptibility to serious respiratory illness. Even if you do get sick from a holiday gathering, you will be more likely to experience mild symptoms and recover far more quickly than if you were not vaccinated.

If you haven’t received your COVID-19 booster or flu vaccine, we strongly encourage you to reach out to your doctor about getting those completed as soon as possible. These shots can often take a few weeks to reach maximum strength in your immune system, so it’s better to get them now instead of immediately before your holiday plans.

Wear a Mask When Possible

Medical professionals still strongly recommend masking during indoor gatherings, especially for those who are at high risk of medical complications. If you are attending an indoor gathering with family and friends, you should wear a high-quality mask and ask those attending with you to wear one as well. Of course, at many of these gatherings, you’ll likely be enjoying a meal together, when masks cannot be worn. Simply do your best to remain masked as much as you possibly can, and ask others to do the same.

Be Firm about Staying Home When Sick

While nobody likes to miss out on holiday gatherings, there should be a firm rule regarding not allowing individuals to show up if they have symptoms of illness. Whether they have symptoms of COVID-19, RSV, cold, or flu, you should ask individuals to refrain from attending holiday gatherings if they feel sick at all. Those who miss out due to being ill can be included through video calls, and deliveries of gifts and food to their doorsteps. This will help protect not only you, but everyone in attendance.

Have Your Oxygen with You

Even if you don’t always need to be using your oxygen, you should make sure that you have it with you at your holiday parties. It’s not always convenient, but holiday gatherings can be crowded, noisy, and stressful, and you may end up needing your oxygen more often at these gatherings that you think.

If you’re looking for more convenient, portable way to bring your oxygen to holiday parties with you, contact Elixair Medical today. We have portable oxygen systems and portable oxygen concentrators that can be carried with you as easily as a purse. Give us a call to learn more about our stock and to determine which oxygen therapy equipment is best for you. Our experienced and knowledgeable team members can guide you through selecting an oxygen therapy device and provide necessary support for running the purchase through your insurance company.