How to safely visit loved ones during COVID-19
Since COVID-19 arrived, there has been a constant stream of concern and curiosity about how to safely visit loved ones during the pandemic. Can I give them a hug? Should we enjoy a meal together? Are my elderly grandparents off-limits?
First, it is important to acknowledge that keeping yourself safe is just as important as keeping those whom you are visiting safe.
Secondly, realize that not everyone has obvious symptoms who may be carrying the virus. “It is possible to be an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19,” Dr. Berger told Livestrong.
Ideally, both you and those you are going to be with would isolate for 14 days prior to your get-together — especially if you each have already ventured outside your home.
Make sure to have a frank talk with friends and family beforehand about any symptoms experienced or previous exposure to the virus, and do not feel guilty about rescheduling if there are any concerns.
Dr. Berger also reminds us that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states those who are over 65 years and who have underlying health issues should avoid group gatherings altogether. He says the risks far outweigh the benefits of a visit.
Some tips to help best protect you and your loved ones as you make plans to meet include:
- Keep gatherings to a limited number of people.
- Select somewhere outdoors, preferably a private setting like a backyard, where you can maintain a safe social distance of six feet apart.
- If meeting somewhere in public, try to keep touching of any objects or surfaces to a minimum, then avoid touching your face, and disinfect hands immediately afterward.
- Also, while in public, avoid using restrooms as much as possible.
Dr. Berger also says to be sure and wear a mask, but remember that even masks have limitations because “extremely small particles, including the virus itself, might pass through the spaces that allow air to pass.” Evidence suggests that is essential to adhere to a combination of multiple, safe practices (mask-wearing, handwashing, social-distancing, etc.) to protect yourselves and loved ones from spreading the virus to each another.