Baubles and ‘Bubbles’
I bet we all have the same thing at the top of our Christmas list – an end to this miserable pandemic. Everyone has suffered some sort of physical, emotional or financial hardship from coronavirus…even mourning a friend, relative or colleague who succumbed.
Christmas is normally a time to enjoy socialising with friends and family and we need that now, more than ever before. But, the very last thing you want to give or receive this Christmas, is Covid.
So, is there a way to have a happy Christmas and still stay safe?
This won’t be popular, I know, but we have been so good at protecting our weak and vulnerable – why put them at risk now? Especially when a vaccine may be just weeks away, for them. Yes, the mental and emotional benefits of getting together are important – but not if it risks Covid, when the end is in sight.
If you have vulnerable family members who aren’t normally part of your bubble, it may just be worth planning for a full-on celebration of Christmas in springtime instead…or as soon as that vaccine is given. And finding a way to have some sort of celebration online in the meantime?!
But, most of us will try to get together in some way, I’m sure. I fully expect that any government guidelines may change again before Christmas, so please, disregard anything written here that doesn’t fit with any guidelines on the day! Guidelines and regulations have to be flexible in an attempt to keep control and ensure our hospitals aren’t overwhelmed. The virus doesn’t give a hoot whether it’s Christmas or not. So, like it or not, we must follow governmental advice and use common-sense to reduce risk wherever possible.
Consider a pre-Christmas quarantine bubble
Assuming a get-together is still allowed, it’s worth your group collectively self-isolating beforehand, especially if more vulnerable people are invited. If you can work from home, get shopping delivered and avoid mixing with others for a week or so before Christmas, you can all feel safer on the day.
Don’t let good habits (or your mask) slip
Keeping that recommended 2m distance between family groups wherever you can will help reduce the risk of droplet transmission. Keeping your mask on will, too. It’s tedious – but if you want to keep your visitors safe then maybe it’s worth it.
There are loads of festive masks around that look fun but may be pretty useless at protecting you or others, so think before you buy this particular stocking filler!
For maximum benefit, cloth masks should be multi-layered (ideally 3-4) and made from thick, plain woven cotton or polycotton…like heavy, good quality t-shirt or tea-towel material. They should fit as well as possible, perhaps incorporating a metal strip or pipe-cleaner to allow moulding around the nose. And, it goes without saying, that wearing it draped around your chin doesn’t do much to protect anyone!! This 3 layer mask comes with a filter pocket and filters but you can use your own. (N.B. No cloth masks can claim to protect against Covid – you need certified medical PPE masks for that).
Be aerosol aware
(photo credit: eu.usatoday.com)
Masks may reduce droplet transmission, but scientists are increasingly worried about aerosol spread from fine droplets that can spread further than 2m (6 feet) and may linger in air for longer. It wasn’t so much of an issue when we were all outdoors, but with a Christmas Day gathering indoors, it could be disastrous if just one person is unknowingly infected. Consider meeting outdoors on a brisk walk instead. Or, if at home, keep windows open and Christmas sweaters on.
And, more and more people are investing in air purifiers like these, supposedly the only ones with filters tested against Covid (but reduce other bugs, allergens and pollutants too). They come in floor standing and portable models for desk or car.
Handle with care
We know that Covid in droplets can settle on surfaces and be transmitted by touch too. So, keeping up that regular handwashing and surface cleaning will ensure you don’t pass Covid around with the cranberry sauce.
Washing with plain soap and water is fine, as long as it’s thorough, for 20 seconds at least.
But good quality hand sanitiser gel is useful as an extra – check that it’s at least 60% alcohol like these eco-friendly ones we felt would be good stocking fillers!
Christmas will certainly be different this time. But with a bit of imagination and common-sense, there’s no reason why it can’t still be fun. We just need to ensure that a few days of much-needed socialising (especially when alcohol may lower our guard) doesn’t lead to the sorrow of a post -Christmas Covid surge. Because we all need 2021 to be a better year!
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