How to gather safely this season

December 6, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources, , ,

As families come together for the holidays – some for the first time in a few years – safety is still important. A few simple measures can help you and your loved ones enjoy a healthier holiday season.

Get a vaccine two-fer

Because of pandemic safety measures, cases and deaths from the flu had declined since 2020. This year, however, cases are already elevated throughout the U.S. and it’s projected to rise significantly during winter months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that eligible adults and children receive the COVID-19 booster on top of the influenza vaccines you were required to receive by Dec. 1. 

Faculty and staff can schedule their COVID-19 vaccinations, whether the initial two shots or boosters, through Occupational Health Services.

Be aware of RSV

Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, is surging throughout the U.S., especially among children. Although anyone can get the virus, which usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, it can cause severe illness in infants, toddlers and young children, as well as older adults.

There is no RSV vaccine. If you have an infant or immunocompromised child, or care for an older adult, take extra precautions:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Disinfect commonly used surfaces and areas in your household.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick or who show symptoms of illness.

Holidays and health decisions

Reconnecting during the holidays offers a good opportunity to discuss personal health topics. Your instinct might be to avoid this talk; who wants to address this during holiday fun? But these brief talks and a bit of planning can save your family time, energy and heartache in the future.

Advance care planning available online

Have you talked about who should make medical decisions for you or your family members if they can’t? Is there documentation, and do all the right people have a copy of it?

Michigan Medicine provides a free, simple toolkit online to help you or a loved one set up what’s known as an “advance directive” about health care. You don’t need to be a Michigan Medicine patient to use these materials. One advantage of using the toolkit is that it meets the requirements to be a legal document in the state of Michigan.

To get started, visit the Michigan Medicine advance directives page.