• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Travel health tips for the pandemic yuletide celebrations

Holiday travel

The holiday season is upon us; many people are already making plans to travel or catch up with family and friends. The season is a time to simply unwind and relax from all the year’s work; but for 2020, COVID-19 pandemic has posed a lot of challenges that has made the “normal” Christmas celebration unrealistic. The pandemic has necessitated the need for movement restrictions which inadvertently places a restriction on Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Despite the medical research breakthrough that made vaccination against this pandemic a reality, the vaccine is still not readily available to all; hence, it is important that caution is exercised for travels both within and outside Nigeria. Nigeria has been lucky with a low rate of COVID-19 associated morbidity and deaths, but with the second wave of the pandemic being seen worldwide, everyone should ensure they stay safe. With increased social contact that is the norm with celebrations, comes increased risk of contracting COVID-19 infection. Everyone must therefore take responsibility to protect themselves and loved ones.

What you need to know

The COVID-19 pandemic is still very much with us. The severity of symptoms and death associated with COVID-19 has not declined. That you and other people are not showing symptoms do not mean you cannot transmit or contract it.

Vaccines are now available but not yet accessible to the public

The effective ways of limiting the spread of COVID this period of the year is still the previously advised COVID 19 protocols

Do not let down your guards as you merry during the holidays

Ensure that you avoid non-essential domestic and international travels to reduce your risk of contracting the virus. Airport lounges and shopping malls are places where the virus can easily spread.

Limit celebration to members of your immediate household while connecting to loved ones using mobile phones and other technological means.

Visits to densely populated events like carols, Santa Claus visitation, Christmas party and New Year Eve programs should be limited and done under COVID-19 safety protocols.

Do not forget to wear facemasks while in public places, even if no one around you is wearing them. Ensure that the mask is properly worn. Do not wear it on your chin, exposing your nose and mouth.

Consciously always maintain a social distance of at least 2 meters away when in public.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Use hand sanitizers when this is not obtainable.

Avoid hugging and handshakes despite the irresistible urge to do that to your loved ones during the celebrations. The restrictions will not last forever! Once, COVID 19 pandemic abates, you can always go back to hugging them

Ensure you stay away from anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness.

Get your annual flu shot to protect from other respiratory illnesses. You don’t want to have flu symptoms during celebrations, lest everyone think you have COVID and they flee from you!

Stay at home if you feel unwell and contact your hospital.

People above 60 years of age / people with chronic illnesses should still avoid non-essential travels and outings. And if they must go out, adhere strictly to the safety measures.

Avoid travels to countries where there is an increasing spread of COVID-19. Ensure you obey the safety rules at the destination countries if you must travel

There will be plenty to drink during yuletide, ensure you do not drink and drive, also, do not let someone drink and drive.

Remember there are other illnesses aside COVID that can disrupt your holiday season

Pay attention to what you eat. Handle and prepare food safely. As you prepare holiday meals, keep yourself and family safe from food related illnesses.

Eat healthy and be active. Avoid junk foods. Choose fresh fruit as substitutes for candy. Limit fats, sugary foods, and salt.

Get adequate physical exercises. This will help you be in good shape for the New Year.

Avoid over-eating and weight gain by eating slowly and drinking water before you commence eating.

Embrace the holiday season; let it be a time of gratitude despite all that has happened in the year.

Avoid stress. Stress is real; the holidays can take a toll on your health. Get support from friends and family when needed. Balance home, work, and play. Keep a relaxed and positive outlook. Make sure you get adequate sleep. Show appreciation. Make good financial decisions. Plan for the New Year.

These pieces of advice are not to take the fun out of the holidays, but to ensure the holiday is fun filled. Do well to celebrate while keeping your health in mind.

 

Adeniyi Bukola, Consultant Family Physician and Travel Medicine Physician

Q –Life Family Clinic

[email protected].