Doctors urge people to approach holidays differently, avoid large gatherings this season

NOW: Doctors urge people to approach holidays differently, avoid large gatherings this season

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- With the holidays right around the corner, health officials fear family gatherings could lead to a potential spike in coronavirus cases.

Health officials are asking people to avoid large gatherings. They want you to keep celebrations to a small group and a shorter period of time.

Local doctors say that while we may want that human interaction this holiday season, with the pandemic, that may be tough.

"Try to maximize the video greetings of people," said Dr. Jorge Ramallo, internal medicine and pediatrics physician at Sixteenth St. Clinic. "Try not to eat together. Try to prepackage the foods so people can eat in their own homes, and that way you're not having to remove your mask to eat and drink."

They suggest approaching the holidays in a different way, including not sharing food, and no buffet-style meals where people are using the same utensils.

They also say wear a mask as much as possible, especially while indoors, since studies show the virus can live in the air for several hours.

"If you know that people that you are interacting with aren't wearing masks, aren't really taking these precautions, you're taking a risk by interacting with them," said Dr. John Raymond, president and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin. "And so we have to find other ways to stay connected to our family and friends this year."

While they continue to remind people about the precautions like handwashing and social distancing, they say a flu shot should also be a part of that checklist. 

In getting creative, they suggest prepackaging meals so people can eat them in their homes and scheduling a virtual meet-up.

"If you're going to have a gathering indoors, try to crack open a window or two and make sure there is a current of air flowing throughout, and that can actually decrease the amount of virus that stays in the air for several hours," Dr. Ramallo said. 

Doctors also suggest quarantining for two weeks prior to the event to avoid potentially spreading the virus to high-risk invidivuals.

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