How to get through the holidays without infection

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Waves of disease driven by different pathogens still have Austria firmly in their grip. Even the holidays do not change that. Thus, the Covid forecast consortium does not expect significant changes over the Christmas holidays – neither down nor up – in terms of new infections or hospital occupancy. Regarding new conditions, wastewater monitoring and officially reported case numbers also point to stagnation. An average of under 4,900 positive tests per day are reported throughout Austria.

Corona protection measures are hardly in place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take one or the other yourself. In part because hospitals nationwide are at or over capacity with influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and just covid patients.

Follow hygiene rules
So what can you do to protect yourself from infection? Following the hygiene rules that have been well practiced in recent years is essential. That means washing your hands regularly and making sure to sneeze into the crook of your arm when you sneeze. Even if you blow your nose, the handkerchief, which now contains viruses, should be disposed of immediately in the dustbin and not left on furniture.

Ventilate rooms well
Another measure should be to ensure good ventilation in the rooms where you spend time with family and friends. This is because cold, flu, Corona, and RS viruses are passed on via droplet infection. Huge gatherings indoors that are poorly ventilated pose an increased risk of disease. This must also be kept in mind during New Year’s Eve celebrations. So: don’t forget regular airing. If it is too cold for open windows, you should ventilate for five minutes every half hour – preferably with a draft. A well-fitting FFP2 mask can also effectively prevent droplet infection. Especially when visiting elderly relatives, you should not do without it.

Testing
Tests still provide a certain degree of certainty for Sars-CoV-2. For example, PCR tests, which can be obtained from numerous pharmacies, are a good option before planned meetings. In terms of the reliability of the result, antigen testing is more uncertain due to possible swabbing errors but can be done immediately before a meeting.

Caution with infants
True influenza can be uncomfortable for all ages, but the RS virus is especially so for infants and young children. In the first months of life, RSV can cause a particular form of inflammation in the smallest airways – bronchiolitis. With infants, large crowds should be avoided at best. And here, too, what we already know from Corona applies: Do not reach into the child’s face with unwashed hands.

Do not forget to vaccinate
For Christmas, the protection provided by the influenza vaccination is probably already too late because it takes about two weeks for the vaccination to develop its protective effect. But since flu season usually lasts into February, it still makes sense to pick up your influenza vaccine. It’s equally wise to keep your Covid vaccine protection current.

As a general rule, if you have symptoms and feel sick, limit contact – especially with vulnerable people. As difficult as that is during the holidays.

  • source: kleinezeitung.at/picture: pixabay.com
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