COVID, flu recommendation from CA docs: Ought to I collect indoors?
For the previous three years, the vacations have been clouded by pandemic issues. Now, with COVID, influenza and RSV circulating, what ought to individuals concentrate on at gatherings?
The Sacramento Bee Service’s journalism staff requested the identical questions of three California hospitals. The next docs supplied responses through electronic mail:
Dr. Matthew Eldridge, Chief of Infectious Illnesses for Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento
Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious ailments at UC Davis
- Dr. Namrita Gogia, Vice President of Inside Medication and COVID-19 Czar at Dignity Well being
Here is what they needed to say:
The next has been edited for readability and brevity.
Is it protected to congregate indoors – or ought to we go outdoors?
Eldridge: Gathering outside is safer than indoors; if there is a gathering inside, you need the house to be effectively ventilated – open doorways and home windows, run HVAC methods, and set up high-quality air filters. Correctly worn masks stay an efficient choice to scale back the chance of viral respiratory infections.
Blumberg: Out of doors occasions can be safer, however it could be uncomfortable or inconceivable because of climate.
Gogie: I believe it actually depends upon the extent of danger that every particular person and every household is keen to tolerate. All in all, I believe it is affordable to congregate indoors.
Is a potluck kind gathering protected?
Eldridge: Potluck fashion may be accomplished safely, however you might wish to restrict everybody to touching the identical meals and naturally individuals ought to wash their palms earlier than consuming.
Blumberg: No drawback in any respect. COVID and influenza are transmitted primarily by way of the respiratory route, and RSV is transmitted by way of massive droplets, which implies touching contaminated serving utensils can result in transmission. However meals shouldn’t be a danger of transmission of those viruses. To cut back the chance of RSV transmission, you possibly can carry a small container of hand sanitizer and use it after serving your self with shared utensils earlier than consuming.
Gogie: Many of the sicknesses we see this season are respiratory sicknesses, so whether or not the meals is served potluck or plated, it needs to be fantastic.
If somebody is sick with the flu – not COVID – ought to they congregate?
Eldridge: If somebody is sick with the flu, they’ll simply infect others. Folks with the flu ought to isolate themselves at house till they’ve been fever-free for no less than 24 hours.
Blumberg: No manner. The flu shouldn’t be a remedy and may trigger critical sickness or demise. Folks with the flu ought to keep house till they’re clinically higher and fever-free for no less than 24 hours, normally 4-5 days after signs seem.
Gogie: People who find themselves not feeling effectively or have higher respiratory signs similar to a runny nostril, cough, fever, chills, nausea, physique aches or sore throat are really useful to remain on the Home.
What recommendation do you have got for these internet hosting a vacation gathering?
Eldridge: On the subject of find out how to congregate safely, the identical approaches that had been related to COVID in recent times nonetheless apply. As public well being companies have famous, there are clear methods to scale back the unfold of illness or reduce the severity of sickness.
- Get the annual flu shot and COVID boosters. These are alright to obtain on the similar time.
- Keep house if you’re sick or unwell and be sure you get examined for COVID
- Wash your palms usually
- Contemplate testing for COVID earlier than gathering
- If you’re assembly indoors, attempt to open home windows and doorways to make sure good air circulation within the room. Contemplate working the HVAC system with prime quality air filters.
- Flu screening shouldn’t be really useful for everybody, however it can be crucial for sure high-risk teams. Speak to your supplier if you’re not sure when you ought to take a look at for the flu. RSV testing shouldn’t be required for most individuals.
Blumberg: Be certain that everybody at house is absolutely immunized with the reminders listed for COVID and flu, and request that your visitors be absolutely immunized as effectively. Anybody who has a fever or respiratory signs ought to withdraw from the gathering in order that others should not prone to an infection. For many who want to additional cut back danger, have all attendees examined for COVID on the day of the occasion to make sure these with asymptomatic an infection keep away to additional cut back transmission.
Gogie: This vacation season, I encourage my sufferers to get along with household, mates and family members. That being mentioned, nobody desires to host a superspreader occasion! Hosts might think about asking attendees to chorus from coming if they’ve higher respiratory signs. If doable, maintain the occasion in an outside house or open house with good air flow. In some conditions, for instance, if an aged or immunocompromised particular person can be attending, it could be excellent to ask these current on the occasion to check themselves beforehand.
What’s your recommendation to these attending the vacation season and the way ought to they put together?
Eldridge: As above.
Blumberg: Be absolutely vaccinated and keep house if you’re sick. For many who turn out to be symptomatic after a big gathering, get examined for COVID early – and if the COVID take a look at is unfavourable – then think about getting examined for the flu if you wish to begin antiviral remedy, because it’s simpler if it is is began inside 48 hours. of the onset of signs. (And for many who drink loads, keep hydrated!)
Gogie: After the occasion, in the event that they develop signs of an higher respiratory tract an infection, they need to keep house and take a look at for COVID-19. They’ll do a speedy house take a look at when signs seem and, if unfavourable, retest inside 48 hours to scale back the chance of lacking an an infection and spreading it to others.
Is there anything you wish to add?
Eldridge: We encourage everybody, on a person degree, to do what they’ll to guard themselves and others. We urge individuals to get their flu photographs and their COVID-19 photographs/booster, which proceed to guard in opposition to critical sickness and demise. And we proceed to suggest the sporting of masks and social distancing, particularly throughout surges in indoor areas between different individuals. These measures are serving to to guard probably the most susceptible individuals in our communities from COVID-19 illness.
Blumberg: I did not point out masking for these conditions as a result of it is much less sensible when individuals are going to eat and drink. However masking has additionally been proven to scale back the chance of COVID, influenza and RSV and due to this fact may be thought of if doable.
This story was initially printed December 17, 2022 5:00 a.m.