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Spinal Cord Injury Community

An Unconventional Holiday Season

Aaron Baker
Spinal Cord Injury Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
11/16/20  4:30 PM PST
celebrate safely

Celebrate Safely

With the holidays fast approaching and COVID-19 seeming to make a second surge, our days of celebrating may look a little different this year than in years past.

As someone living with a compromised immune system due to spinal cord injury, I have always been hyper-aware of my surroundings – what I’m touching, who I’m seeing, and where I’m traveling to. This year I am especially concerned due to the virus, as well as my wife’s pregnancy. We are now a household of two at-risk people, with a third on the way.

In addition to my everyday vigilance, I will follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations:

For in-home gatherings, include those you are currently exposed to on a daily basis. Inviting additional guests, especially when seated inside without masks during the colder months, can pose the potential of unnecessary risks for exposure to COVID-19 as well as the flu.

While many people may not restrict themselves completely during the holidays, it is still important to keep in mind these tips:

    1. Check local and state guidelines for group gatherings. It’s important to keep your community safe!
    2. Limit guests to those in your household. If this cannot be avoided, maintain a 6 foot social distance.
    3. Host outdoors instead of indoors. Get creative with a bonfire, blankets and warm apple cider!
    4. Encourage all attendees to wear a mask – after all, we’re pretty accustomed to it by now.
    5. Provide sanitary equipment to your guests. My wife keeps antibacterial wipes, latex gloves and hand sanitizer in stations around the house – front door, bathrooms, and dining area.
    6. And, if you can, ask your guests to isolate up to 14 days before getting together. It helps limit exposure and contact tracing!

If you are limiting your exposure during the holidays, Zoom and FaceTime can be that connection to your family you may be missing. Schedule time with your friends and family beforehand, and suggest an activity to keep the mood upbeat and positive. The group could play trivia, bake a dessert with Grandma together, or watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade together!

It’s tempting to revert back to our traditions of big gatherings, hugs and kisses, and shared meals… But, I continue to remind myself that a short-term sacrifice is a long-term benefit. One year of unconventional holidays can bring us a new year of appreciation for those in our lives. We want to celebrate with them for many more years to come, and not just in 2020. In theme with this year, let’s embrace the weird and make the best of it!

~Aaron

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