People should stay cautious about COVID-19 amidst Thanksgiving celebrations

People should opt to stay home if they have even the mildest symptoms.
People should opt to stay home if they have even the mildest symptoms. Photo credit Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – As Thanksgiving approaches and the holiday season kicks off in earnest, people need to start planning ahead to stay COVID-19 safe.

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While it's next to impossible to eliminate the risk of transmission altogether, there are several ways to dramatically minimize that risk.

It’s not too late to put together some precautions, said Dr. John Swartzberg, a clinical professor of medicine at UC Berkeley on KCBS Radio's "Ask an Expert" with Melissa Culross on Monday.

Those hosting others in their home can ask their guests not to join if they’re exhibiting even the mildest of symptoms the morning of.

"Ask them to please stay home," he said. "Tell them you’ll do the same."

If hosts wake up in the morning and are congested or have a sore throat, they need to cancel whatever celebration they have planned, even if they've already got a 20-lb turkey ready to go.

Another way people can plan ahead is to start being cautious now about avoiding any situation that could cause transmission, not just for COVID-19 but also RSV and the flu.

"Just add more precautions to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday," said Swartzberg. "So that by the time Thursday rolls around the chances of being recently infected are very small."

Finally, it would be helpful for people to test themselves a few hours before the big meal.

"If everybody's testing negative that's going to be together the chances of somebody being contagious it is markedly reduced," he said.

With the house itself, if it’s not too cold, people could also have a few windows open to create ventilation in the space. Or if people have them, use HEPA filter air purifiers.

Just those simple steps can go a long way in preventing a Thanksgiving surge of cases.

Those who are traveling are facing different risk factors. The most important thing while in an airport, on a plane or on a bus, is to have a mask on.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images