Prevent Spread of COVID-19 as you Celebrate Thanksgiving

Planning to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends? A pulmonologist offers tips on how to enjoy the holiday while staying safe from COVID-19.

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CLEVELAND – With COVID-19 vaccine now widely available, many families are hoping to celebrate Thanksgiving like they used to.

However, Joseph Khabbaza, MD, pulmonologist for Cleveland Clinic said it’s still important to take some precautions so everyone is safe.

“If you are planning a Thanksgiving get together, you want to know who your audience is. Who are the people who are going to be under your roof that you are feeding? And knowing who is immunocompromised, who is more susceptible and higher risk should they succumb to infection,” said Dr. Khabbaza.

He said even though COVID cases are lower than they have been in the last few months, we shouldn’t let our guard down. He said the best thing you can do is make sure everyone in your household is vaccinated. That’s going to give you the best protection.

Other recommendations include wearing masks, if needed, and regularly washing your hands.

As for children who aren’t old enough to get vaccinated, he said that’s who parents really need to watch out for. Not only are they at risk for contracting the virus but they can easily spread it to other people who aren’t vaccinated.

“It’s really hard to explain how sad it was in the ICU last year, seeing loved ones pass away from holiday gatherings, so you want to minimize the odds of that,” said Dr. Khabbaza. “Having a mostly vaccinated household is really the main way to make those risks almost negligible.”

Dr. Khabbaza said if you are planning to travel for Thanksgiving, you could also check the infection and vaccination rates for that specific community. That could help you decide whether or not to go.

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