12 methods to remain Covid-free earlier than Christmas


Christmas is just around the corner and with a miserable déjà vu, the news is once again dominated by rising Covid cases.

Last year our festive joy was slowed when Boris Johnson announced restrictions just days before Christmas Day. This year we can spend Christmas with our friends and families, but the cases of the Omicron variant are still on the rise and as a result, Plan B has been introduced.

Most of the Christmas parties have been canceled, work from home has been reintroduced, and we are again wearing masks indoors. Many fear that further restrictions will be put in place.

As of this writing, there are no government plans to stop household mixing over the holidays, but if you test positive for Covid you will need to isolate.

To give you the best chance of a “normal” Christmas, here are some tips to help you stay Covid-safe during the Christmas season.

1. Get a booster jab

Boris Johnson has identified the booster program as one of the UK’s main forms of defense against Omicron. Booster jabs will be offered to everyone over the age of 18 in England starting this week.

Starting Wednesday December 15th, anyone over the age of 18 will be able to use the NHS booking system to book their jab. Though some people had technical difficulties after the Prime Minister’s announcement.

Alternatively, you can get your booster vaccination at a walk-in Covid-19 vaccination center if you received your second vaccination at least three months beforehand.

2. Work from home (if you can)

In the past few months, many across England have enjoyed hybrid working working part-time in the office after the official mandate for working from home was abolished. But now the advice is to work from home when you can again.

Government guidelines state that “office workers who can work from home should do so”. It also states that people should continue to travel to work if they “need access to the equipment they need to do their job or if their job needs to be performed in person”.

3. Self-isolation if necessary

The government guidelines on self-isolation state that you should isolate yourself as soon as you realize you have Covid-19 symptoms. You should do a PCR test immediately and isolate if the result is positive.

On November 28, the government said anyone in close contact with the Omicron variant must isolate themselves for 10 days. However, this information was replaced with new rules that were announced on December 12th.

The new requirements state that if you have been double vaccinated and have had contact with a case of Omicron, you will now have to take tests daily. Only people who test positive need to be isolated. Unvaccinated adults must isolate for another 10 days.

4. Take lateral flow tests before seeing family members at risk

The government’s advice on testing is now that people should do a lateral flow test before entering “crowded indoor spaces”. However, you can also do your part by running tests before seeing family members at risk. You can get tests in pharmacies or online, it is better to be on the safe side.

5. Do your Christmas shopping online

Even if Christmas is still a week away, many of us still have a few gifts to buy. With so much online shopping available, you no longer have to physically go to stores. According to a survey by the personal finance startup Credit Karma, more and more of us are now preferring to do their Christmas shopping online.

Avoid the shops and shop from the comfort of your home. You can even find some gift ideas from us here.

6. Wear a mask

With the Omicron variant, the rules for wearing a mask have changed. In his press conference on Downing Street on Saturday, November 27th, Boris Johnson stated that face-covering would become mandatory in shops and on public transport to stop the spread of the new variant. In the meantime, the rules have been expanded and a mask is required in almost all indoor areas.

Trisha Greenhalgh, Professor of Health Sciences in Primary Care at Oxford University, previously told HuffPost UK that the pandemic is ongoing and that we should protect ourselves accordingly – including by wearing a mask.

While masks and coverings primarily protect other people from the transmission of Covid particles, research is also increasing the protection of the wearer.

7. Know the difference between a cold and Covid-19

It’s winter, which means the cold season is just around the corner. However, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a cold and Covid-19.

  • a blocked or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • a headache
  • aching
  • coughs
  • Sneeze
  • an elevated temperature
  • Pressure in the ears and face
  • Loss of taste and smell.

Traditional symptoms of Covid were:

  • a high temperature – this means you get hot when you touch your chest or back (you don’t need to take your temperature)
  • a new, persistent cough – this means that you are coughing heavily for more than an hour or have three or more coughing fits in a 24 hour period (if you cough normally it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change in your sense of smell or taste – this means that you have noticed that you cannot smell or taste anything, or that things smell or taste differently than normal.
  • fatigue
  • Body aches
  • a headache
  • Sneeze
  • sore through
  • Slight cough
  • Stuffy nose.

If you’re not sure, if you feel unwell, stay home and take a PCR test to see if your symptoms could be Covid symptoms.

8. Decline invitations to social events

As the cases of the Omicron variant increase, it is important that we exercise discretion at social events. If you want to reduce your risk of contracting the virus, you can always decline some social invitations.

Etiquette consultant Julia Esteve Boyd previously told HuffPost UK that we should be direct if an invitation is turned down due to Covid-19. “Apologize and say that you would like to attend another event if the situation changes. It’s only fair to let her know as soon as possible, ”she said.

9. Avoid large gatherings

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, told Huffpost UK. “At Christmas, respiratory viruses spread less easily at the Christmas party, because we then mingle less with people than on a normal work or school day. But Christmas parties in the run-up to Christmas are different and would certainly increase the chances of contagion. ”Try to limit the number of large gatherings you attend during the run-up to Christmas.

10. Continue to wash your hands and maintain social distancing

We can’t neglect the little things that make a big difference in the fight against Covid-19. We should continue to prioritize hand washing and social distancing when necessary.

Although we now know that surface contact isn’t the main cause of the spread of Covid, the NHS still says that we should wash our hands with warm water and soap while it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice. That’s about 20 seconds. Try to keep a distance of one to two meters from other people in public.

11. Ventilate your home

Yes, it’s cold, but opening the windows for a few minutes or so can limit the spread of the virus. Doctors and scientists have supported a government-funded nationwide campaign to get everyone to open their windows every 10 minutes every hour during winter.

Covid can build up indoors when an infected person is talking to another person, making it more likely to be transmitted. Increasing the airflow in your home will drive the virus out into the open.

12. Bring back the zoom parties

Ah, Zoom, our old friend. Over the months we may have forgotten our favorite lockdown past, but it might be time to bring it back. Not everyone is going to be comfortable mingling with others this Christmas, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of Zoom parties.

You can have a Christmas karaoke zoom party or maybe a Netflix session. It’s too cold to be outside anyway!
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