Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Get Ready for Thanksgiving: Ways to keep your loved ones safe this holiday

The holiday season is finally here! After so much time apart, many people are excited to reunite with their family and friends for Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 24. This year, many families are back in the holiday spirit and can't wait to return to their favorite holiday traditions. 

As you and your family prepare for Thanksgiving, make sure health and safety are also in your plan. Get Ready has new social media shareables to help spread good health and good cheer this holiday season. Check them out here:

COVID-19 Safety

Like 2020, celebrating the holidays looks different with COVID-19 still around. But there are many safe ways to enjoy the holidays. One way to stay protected is to ensure that all eligible family members get their COVID-19 vaccinations before coming together on Thanksgiving. While the CDC has recently approved vaccination for anyone above the age of 5 years old, some of our friends and family members still may not be fully vaccinated in time for the holidays. The CDC says that getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and those that aren't eligible like young children and high medical risk family members. 

Some of our family members are at higher risk for the COVID-19 virus, and it's important to think about their safety and protection. 

If you are feeling sick or have any COVID-19 symptoms, don't pass it along to others at the dinner table. Keep your friends and family healthy by staying home until you are symptom-free. Vaccinations and other safety practices like mask-wearing, frequent hand-washing and avoiding large crowds of people outside your friends and family will help reduce everyone's risk for COVID-19 during Thanksgiving. 

Before traveling, the CDC recommends that you check the current COVID-19 situation where you’re visiting. The CDC has a helpful tracker that shows how the virus may be spreading in communities. Share this tracker and other CDC travel recommendations with your family and friends to keep them informed before traveling this holiday season. 

Food safety

COVID-19 is not the only illness that can spread on Turkey Day. Food-borne illnesses are also common during the holidays. The USDA says that your turkey and stuffing is not safe to eat until it reaches 165° F. Using a food thermometer, check the internal temperature of your turkey in three places: the thickest part of the breast, the innermost wing and the innermost thigh. If your turkey has not reached a safe temperature in all three places, it’s not ready yet. Simply give it more time to cook in the oven. Wait about 20 minutes for the juices to settle into the turkey before carving. Now your fully cooked and healthy turkey is ready to serve at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Check out the USDA’s helpful infographics to learn more about food safety during the holidays. 

You can prevent food-borne illnesses by having clean hands. Before, during, and after handling your turkey, wash your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Washing your hands helps fight germs and will keep you and your family healthy at Thanksgiving dinner. The CDC has more tips on how to keep your holiday turkey and stuffing safe and healthy for your guests to enjoy. 

Fire safety 

Emergencies like house fires and other disasters can still happen during the holidays. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association says that Thanksgiving is peak time for home cooking fires.  Fires are one of the quickest ways to cut Thanksgiving dinner short. Most cooking fires in the home involve the kitchen stove

Avoid cooking fires by staying close to your stovetop and setting a timer for your food. Whether you are frying in the kitchen or grilling outside, don’t leave your food or heat unattended and especially keep children away from cooking areas. Even if you are away for a short time, turn off the stove to save you and your family from a fire at home. The Red Cross has a list of ways to prevent fires on Thanksgiving that you can learn about before hosting this holiday. 

Thanksgiving should be spent spreading gratitude and love, instead of COVID-19, food-borne illnesses or cooking fires. Together we can have a safe and healthy holiday season!