Household Infections and Upcoming Holidays
The holiday season is upon us! Families across the country are deciding who to invite, where to sit, what to have, and what are the risks of having a gathering amidst a pandemic. Usually, most of us would be booking flights and arranging travel plans, but this year is a little different. As cases surge across the country, some families are opting to forgo holiday celebrations while others are trying to reduce the risks and celebrate safely. Upgrading your home’s air system can help reduce the risk of airborne virus transmission.
The COVID-19 virus spreads in the same way that any other airborne virus does. It transmits when an infected person’s aerosols get into a healthy person’s body. It is highly contagious so once someone in the house gets sick, most likely everyone in the house gets sick.
There is no specific data to point out the rate of household infections, but when you’re congregating with people and breathing the same air and touching the same surfaces, it’s likely for an infection to occur, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Mayor of Madison, WI Satya Rhodes-Conway said in a recent statement that in gatherings of 10 people, there is a 32 percent chance someone has the virus. The Hartford Courant also did a study in conjunction with the state’s Department of Health. It found household infections to be the 3rd-largest driver of infection behind workplaces and restaurants.
College Students to Start Heading Home
One specific population group that is causing concern is college students. Many universities are shutting down in-person classes after Thanksgiving break. Although students can remain on campus, if they go home or leave campus for out of town travel, they are unable to return until the start of the spring semester.
This group is problematic for a number of reasons.
Students are younger so they may not present symptoms or know they are sick. In addition, they are living together in cramped indoor spaces, going to class, less risk-averse, and socializing with diverse groups that make contact-tracing difficult.
In lieu of these risk factors, some universities are offering exit tests. All health professionals are also urging students to limit contact to their bubble for the next several weeks to reduce the risk of spread or wear masks in the home until you can be sure that everyone is negative.
Being Safe During The Holidays
To remedy these risks some families are rethinking their holiday celebrations.
For smaller gatherings, an Aprilaire portable room air purifier can also help filter the air for airborne viruses, among other airborne particulates like pet dander and other allergens, depending on the size of the room and number of guests.
Despite the inherent benefits of celebrating together as a family, especially this year, it may be beneficial to do a small get-together with those inside your bubble. For the most comprehensive information, stay up-to-date with your home state and traveling state’s guidelines. You can also view the current risk assessment factor in each county to keep your family happy and healthy this holiday season.