Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and celebrate with family and friends. We have all heard about the circulating viruses, but you and your family can have a healthy gathering. Here are a few key steps for this week:
If you are sick today, there is a good chance you’ll be contagious on Thursday. Regardless of which type of virus you may have, you should consider staying home. The infectious windows for the triple-threat viruses are as follows:
- Flu: Contagious for 5-7 days after symptoms start.
- COVID-19: There is strong evidence that an Omicron infection lasts 8-10 days on average. Some people will be infectious for less, and some will be infectious for more. You won’t know unless you test.
- RSV: Contagious for 3-8 days after symptoms start. Some infants and people with weakened immune systems can spread the virus even after they stop showing symptoms, for as long as 4 weeks.
Cadence testing will help catch false negatives for COVID-19. Antigen tests are not perfect, especially among asymptomatic people, but they can help. (The average antigen test can catch 44% to 70% of asymptomatic cases).
For cadence testing, it’s best to test tomorrow morning and again on Thursday morning before getting together.
- If both tests are negative: You are good to go.
- If you test positive tomorrow: You could be at the end of your viral journey. Test again on Thursday but be prepared to cancel plans.
- If you test positive Thursday: Stay home.
Mask Before Your Thanksgiving Gathering
Mask everywhere in public for the next few days. Masks work against all respiratory viruses. Be sure to wear a good one like a KN95 or N95.
Ventilate the Rooms
On Thursday, get the air moving and ventilate the rooms. Open the windows, turn on the fans, and turn on the air purifiers. Buy a CO2 monitor if you want to ensure good ventilation.
Sick after Thanksgiving?
If you’re over age 65 or high risk, get tested and get an antiviral as soon as possible. They are available for the flu and COVID-19. For children under 2, sometimes it’s hard to know when and where to get care, and pediatric hospitals are under incredible stress right now. When in doubt, call your doctor.
Have a wonderful and healthy Thanksgiving!