Holiday gatherings: Please don’t

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Many families are following advice from health experts and keeping holidays low key this year.

Some people are relieved to have an excuse to skip family gatherings, while others feel distraught that the coronavirus pandemic is robbing them of yet another beloved tradition.

No matter what your emotional reaction is to these recommendations, for everyone’s sake, please reduce the spread of infection by limiting the number of people at your gathering.

Consider: What can I do to prevent being exposed myself and prevent accidentally spreading COVID-19 to others? You might want to try a virtual gathering.

If you do choose to invite guests, then the day before they arrive, call and ask if they have had a fever or have recently developed a cough, shortness of breath, headache or body aches, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or diarrhea or new loss of taste or smell.

A yes to any of these indicates this person should stay home and away from others.

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or tested positive, do not attend a holiday gathering in person. Personal responsibility often means personal sacrifice, and this is one of those occasions.

The Iowa Department of Public Health website offers tips for a safe holiday season.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.

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