Helping to keep your loved ones safe at Christmas

Dr Justin Varney, director of public health at Birmingham City Council, offers advice about how to help keep loved ones safe this Christmas:

It’s been a tough year again and I know people are looking forward to the Christmas holiday and seeing friends and family – though I know many of you will be working over the break too.

We all want to enjoy ourselves, relax and switch off, but we also want to be safe and keep others safe.

There are a few things we can do that can really help.

Before you go to visit friends, family or go and enjoy the panto, take a lateral flow test.

It’s a good idea to keep gatherings small and special; while there are no official restrictions it is certainly safer to limit the numbers of households that come together at any one time. Ventilate rooms before and after you have guests over.

Don’t forget, when you are out and about you must wear a face-covering in public places likes shops and public transport, bars and cinemas, unless you are exempt – and remember some people will have an exemption that isn’t obvious.

Washing your hands regularly isn’t just important for Covid, it also helps avoid the bugs that cause diarrhoea and vomiting that often spread at this time of year. Using hand sanitiser when you enter a shop, a restaurant or a faith setting and when you leave helps avoid carrying anything extra home with you.

If you have Covid symptoms then isolate at home and order a test – I know it is hard at this time of year to isolate but please don’t risk spreading Covid to the people you love.

If you are contacted by NHS test and trace and told you are a contact of someone who has Covid then you must follow the guidelines: if you are vaccinated then do a daily lateral flow test before you leave the house and don’t forget to report it to the NHS; and if you aren’t double vaccinated then you must isolate at home for 10 days so this is another reason to get the jab.

Don’t forget to get your Covid vaccine this holiday season, NHS staff and volunteers are working evenings and weekends to keep clinics open to help make it easy to get a jab and getting the vaccine is something we can all do to keep everyone a bit safer for the new year.

Have a great festive holiday and remember these small steps every day can make a huge difference.


This blog was posted on 20 December 2021.

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