Dreaming of a Covid-free Christmas? How to stay safe during the UK festive season | Corona virus | Daily News Byte

Dreaming of a Covid-free Christmas?  How to stay safe during the UK festive season |  Corona virus

 | Daily News Byte

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Christmas is coming, the party season is upon us, and for the first time since 2019 the government Grinches aren’t telling us what to do. For two consecutive festive seasons during the pandemic, authorities across the UK issued regulations to limit the spread of Covid. This year, there are none. You go, enjoy yourself.

Normality is very welcome, but Covid has not gone away. Infections, while much lower than at their peak, are increasing; The number of people admitted to hospital with Covid in England has risen by 22% in the past week alone, while admissions for flu are also higher. Meanwhile, the huge cost of prolonged Covid to the nation’s health and productivity is even more evident. What does that mean for this holiday season? We asked the experts.

Do I really need to worry about Covid again this Christmas? Because, yes, Dr. says Helen Salisbury, a GP, senior medical education fellow at Oxford University and member of the independent SAGE advisory group. “Some people still get very sick, especially the medically susceptible who haven’t responded to the vaccine, and even if it’s not you, you can make someone else sick if you catch Covid and pass it on.”

But isn’t it like a cold these days? Mercifully, for many healthy people it is. But “in this post-vaccination period, and even with the so-called ‘mild’ omicron subvariants, an additional 750,000 will suffer prolonged covid and associated disability through 2022,” says Salisbury, “and this is often in people who were then well. infection.”

OK then – What should I do? According to Linda Bould, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh and chief social policy adviser to the Scottish Government, the most important thing is to keep up to date with your vaccines.

Getting the full vaccine won’t completely protect you from infection, but it significantly reduces the risk of illness, she says, adding that the same applies to the flu jab.

Currently only the over 50s are eligible for a regular seasonal (autumn) covid booster (along with healthcare workers, care home residents, the immunosuppressed and some others). But vaccination has dropped significantly since the first wave of vaccinations, and many people remain hesitant – for example, 39.5% of people of Black Caribbean origin are still unvaccinated.

“Having all the jabs available to you also means you can reduce the risk of prolonged Covid, because we know that people who have symptoms of Covid – and especially those who are unwell – are more likely to have prolonged Covid,” says Boldt. “.

But what about the Christmas party I’m going to this evening? “The first thing I would say is go for it,” says Bould. “It’s brilliant that we can socialize—let’s do it with gusto while we’re good.”

Of course, there are caveats – mainly, don’t go if you have or suspect Covid. Parties can also be made safer, says Professor Keith Knox, an expert in building ventilation for infection control at the University of Leeds. “There is evidence that the greatest risk is in unventilated and indeed poorly ventilated rooms. So even a small amount of ventilation can help.

Does it apply when I host Christmas dinner? Sure, she says. “I know it’s hard at the moment [with] heat cost. But it’s still really important if you can let some fresh air in, maybe open the windows occasionally. It can make a difference.” While the mechanisms of infection aren’t always the same, what helps reduce Covid will also help other respiratory diseases, she says. “Fresh air is good.”

Should I ask my family to get a covid test before they come? If she’s visiting an elderly or frail relative, Bould would consider getting a Covid test, she says, “but that’s because I’ve still got some in my house. I don’t think, at the expense of a life-threatening situation, we should be giving people Advice should be given to verify who will have to pay for them.

That said, if you can afford it, your sensitive guests will likely be grateful. Just don’t rely entirely on them, Salisbury says: “It’s important to remember that sometimes Covid tests don’t turn positive for several days – so if you’re sick, don’t put others at risk and move on. test.”

What about masks? “We know masks work [in preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses]”You probably don’t want to wear your mask to a party. But wearing it when you’re traveling on the bus to a party — maybe it’s a good idea because it gives you and other people some protection.” is

“You just have to look at how overwhelmed the hospitals are, the number of respiratory infections they’ve got to deal with at the moment. And covid is not gone. People are trying to pretend that it is but it really isn’t.”

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