Let’s start by saying that I know you’ve seen these tips before and they’re meant to help you protect yourself and those you love from one of the most virulent seasons in decades.

The holiday season is in full swing. After three years of caution, masks, and social distancing, thousands are traveling to celebrate with family. Many are traveling without masks and without regard for social distancing. Why? Admittedly, this is the most difficult for me to understand. Even if we don’t care about anyone else, I’d think we’d be selfish enough to take measures to protect ourselves from COVID, the Flu, and RSV.

In the spirit of the season, I shall remain hopeful and share 5 tips for your BEST holiday health.

(1)  Get a flu shot and COVID booster. If you haven’t done this already it’s the first step in the right direction to helping you minimize the risk of getting sick.

(2)  Wear a mask, especially when you travel. This is an inexpensive thing to do and it’s only a minor inconvenience for just about all of us. All three viruses are airborne and a mask will protect you from leaving an open door for them to enter your body.

(3)  Sure, we all want to hug and be hugged, but when we’re traveling or with others we don’t know it’s especially important to maintain that 6′ (2m) distance so those bugs don’t easily reach us.

(4) Got the sniffles before you even leave for that holiday trip? Stay home. Regardless of whether you have a cold or something more serious, it’s not worth making yourself (and yes the rest of your family) miserable by trying to be social when you’d rather be alone watching a good movie.

(5)  Don’t stay inside the entire visit. Go for a walk. If you’re in warmer climates move some family activities outdoors. If you’re in a colder part of the world crack open a window. Letting in the fresh air will do wonders for helping you stay healthy.

While it’s common to see an uptick in seasonal influenza and the Respiratory Syncytial Virus, but this year it’s early and it’s potent. Doctors and health facilities are seeing more cases of these viruses along with a significant increase in COVID-19 cases than in many years before the pandemic shut things down in 2020.

There’s never a guarantee you won’t get a virus, but why increase the risk when you can take simple steps to protect yourself and your family this holiday?

Gloria's career as an independent nonprofit consultant, trainer, and writer spans over 30 years giving her lots to talk about. She has a deep passion for sustainability, both environmentally and organizationally. Enjoy her perspectives on community, development, and tales from her virtual world travels.

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