Tuesday, November 17, 2020

PODCAST: COVID-19: How to Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

With the holidays approaching, how can we celebrate with loved ones while reducing risks? The COVID-19 pandemic is nowhere near over, increasing the risk of transmission during one of the busiest travel and social-gathering periods of the year. 

The Texas Medical Association (TMA) unveils two new tools from doctors to help people make safe holiday plans. 

New podcast
Trish Perl, MD, and TMA public health staff member Meredith Vinez address how to reduce  your risk for COVID-19 during the holiday season, in the latest episode of the TMA’s Practice Well podcasts. Dr. Perl is a member of both TMA’s COVID-19 Task Force and Committee on Infectious Diseases, and chief of the infectious diseases division at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

“This is the new normal, and until we really see that we have something like a vaccine or other measures that are going to prevent transmission, this is going to be our new normal,” Dr. Perl says in the podcast. 

That means everyone should balance healthy practices with pursuing holiday traditions.

Dr. Perl discusses the dangers of COVID-19 fatigue, and how wearing face masks, maintaining good hygiene (washing hands frequently), and social distancing can help stop the spread of the virus. Citing their own family situations, she and Ms. Vinez discuss what people should do if they decide to travel for the holidays, the safest way to travel, and the risks of visiting elderly relatives. 

The episode also covers how to deal with relatives who aren’t taking COVID-19 seriously, low risk holiday activities for the kids, potential tweaks to the traditional holiday to family dinners, and how to give back to the community this season. Some of their suggestions include hosting outdoor family gatherings, using disposable plates and utensils, and serving guests rather than passing a bowl of food with a single serving spoon.

Dr. Perl concluded with this reminder: “Stay safe, and everybody remember your three w’s: wear your mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands!” 

To listen to the holiday podcast and other episodes of TMA’s Practice Well podcast, visit us on our website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio and Podbean

New infographic
The TMA COVID-19 Task Force also released a holiday update to its popular COVID-19 risk assessment chart released in summer, 2020. How risky do the physician experts envision Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends? Where on the chart’s scale does group caroling fall? Find the answers in TMA’s new COVID-19 Winter Risk Assessment Chart

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