Keeping Ourselves and Others Safe During the Holidays

It’s that time of year – but in a year unlike any other. While the holidays generally pulse with joyous get-togethers, COVID-19 safety protocols and constraints make this year different. And, of course, ever-present concern about ourselves and loved ones can easily put a damper on the open fires of celebration.

All that said, the fact is that all we can do is the best we can do. And the best we can do is to actively work to keep ourselves and others COVID-19-free this holiday season. In that spirit, here are a few reminders and suggestions for doing just that.

Follow the 3Ws:

  • Wear a cloth mask over your mouth and nose at all appropriate times. Simply strapping it across your chin helps no one.
  • Watch your distance and actually stay the recommended six feet away from people you don’t know and friends and family who have not been as careful as you.
  • Wash your hands for at least 60 seconds. That’s triple the pre-COVID-19 recommendation. So instead of singing “Happy Birthday” twice as previously suggested, you could step it up with a few rounds of “Winter Wonderland.” Use hand sanitizer when you are unable to wash with soap and water.

Get a flu shot:

Flu season is upon us — and the stakes are higher this year. As we enter the hardest-hitting months (December through February, according to Harvard Health), make sure you know the difference in symptoms among COVID-19, the flu, and the common cold?

  • Any sort of flu is no fun, and it’s possible to contract both the current strain(s) and COVID-19 simultaneously at a time when healthcare providers already are stretched.
  • If you haven’t yet, a shot is easy enough to get. Just go to your primary care physician, clinic or drug store, i.e., CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens. Some drugstores are even offering drive-through flu shots for additional safety.

Test your COVID-19 test knowledge here on what, how, and when to get tested:

Diagnostic Tests

  • What: To diagnose a current COVID-19 infection
  • How: A saliva test or nasal or throat swab to get the sample
  • When: If you’re experiencing symptoms or have recently been exposed to COVID-19. Accuracy increases if you’re tested a few days after either exposure or developing symptoms.
  • What it doesn’t do: Detect antibodies or previous infection

Antibody Tests

  • What: Shows if you have antibodies (because you were likely infected with COVID at some point)
  • How: A blood sample
  • When: After a full recovery; antibodies become detectable 1-3 weeks after symptoms start
  • What it doesn’t do: Confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis

And throughout the season and beyond, remember that the best gift we can give anyone is showing them that we care and are willing to do all we can to protect them – and ourselves – for the long-term.

We wish you nothing but the best in these unusual times, including a happy and healthy holiday season.

About Quil

Quil, a digital health company, delivers actionable and personalized health itineraries for patients and caregivers, answering the question “What Happens Next?” in their healthcare journeys. Quil is a joint venture of Independence Blue Cross and Comcast. We combine the powers of precision data, state-of-the-art technology, and security with unparalleled consumer reach to help individuals navigate today’s chaotic healthcare landscape. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA with additional offices in New York City, Quil serves individuals, healthcare providers, and payors nationally.