Guest Post by Katy Fleming, MA, LPC, BSN, RN
The holiday season is among us with holiday cheer, lasting memories, and, unfortunately, germs.
Many gather with family and friends to exchange gifts and continue holiday traditions. During cold and flu season, this often leads to spreading germs and illness outbreaks.
Consider these tips to prevent spreading germs at your next holiday gathering.
How to Prevent Spreading Germs at Holiday Gatherings
Exchange presents and spread joy this holiday season instead of viruses with these helpful suggestions to prevent germ spreading.
Frequent Hand Washing
Hand washing is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to stop spreading germs.
Remove most germs with frequent hand washing, especially during these key moments:
- Before and after eating food
- After using the bathroom
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- After changing a diaper or helping a child use the toilet
- Before and after treating a cut
- After handling garbage
- After touching pet food or animal waste
If you don’t have visible dirt on your hands, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol will eliminate most germs. However, soap and water is the best choice when available.
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds or sing the “Happy Birthday song” twice. Little ones may need some assistance and reminders to wash their hands thoroughly.
Developing the healthy habit of hand washing plays a major role in preventing illness and stopping the spread of germs.
Stay Home if You’re Unwell
You may feel like Scrooge staying home from holiday festivities. If you’re sick, viruses spread quickly in group settings.
People share germs in various ways, from coughing around others to touching objects after an ill person. Viruses spread more easily indoors, especially in close contact for holiday meals.
Protect your family and friends from getting sick by staying home when you have a fever, excessive runny nose, diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat, or other respiratory symptoms. If possible, avoid contact with family members in your home by remaining in one room.
When someone coming to your house for a holiday gathering isn’t feeling well, it may feel awkward to approach the subject. Kindly suggest that they stay home or wear a mask during their stay.
Rest your body safely at home instead of transporting germs to others.
Don’t Share Plates
Accidentally reusing a dinner plate or sharing utensils with loved ones can easily lead to sharing unwanted germs.
Sanitize dishes properly with hot, soapy water or use disposable dishware.
Wine glass charms help identify your drink to avoid spreading germs.
Disinfect High-Touched Surfaces
Regularly wipe down highly touched surfaces such as door knobs, toys, countertops, faucets, tables, TV remotes, and the bathroom.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs often spread from having contact with germy surfaces before touching your face.
Sanitize and disinfect germ hot spots in your home before and after hosting a family function to stay healthy.
Viruses causing the flu, RSV, and COVID-19 spread more frequently during the fall and winter. Vaccines help your body learn to defend itself against these viruses to avoid infection.
Protect yourself and your loved ones by staying up-to-date on all your immunizations, including the flu, COVID-19, and other recommended vaccinations.
An RSV immunization is now available for infants and adults ages 60 and older.
Vaccinations are one of the best ways to stay healthy by preventing infections. Discuss any questions with your primary healthcare provider and schedule an appointment for your flu shot, COVID-19 vaccine, and other necessary immunizations.
Ask Family Members to Refrain from Kissing Infants
It’s tough to resist those plump cheeks on a newborn baby, but it’s also a risk to their health. Respectfully ask others to refrain from kissing your infant.
Kissing transmits germs that may cause life-threatening infections for your little ones, such as RSV, cold sores, and Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.
Set boundaries with your family and friends by requesting that they show your infant love from a safe distance.
Want more holiday tips? Check these out:
- 7 Holiday Choking Hazard
- Gifts Parents Actually Need This Holiday Season
- Toys Children with Down Syndrome Will Love to Be Gifted This Holiday Season
- Tips for Baby-proofing Your Home During the Holidays
- How to Bring the New Year in With Little Ones
Stay prepared this holiday season to minimize the spread of germs at your next gathering with these healthy habits.
As a licensed counselor and registered nurse, Katy approaches freelance writing with years of experience and a unique perspective. Alongside her partner, Katy loves to travel the world and embrace other cultures from volcanoes in Iceland to villages in India.
A clear nose means better sleep.
The Nozebot is a battery-powered suction device designed to clear nasal congestion in babies and children.