Ask A Doctor: How Can My Family Celebrate Halloween Safely This Year?

A UT Health San Antonio physician answers listeners’ questions about their health during the coronavirus pandemic.

By Michael Marks & Caroline CovingtonOctober 28, 2020 10:53 am,

In this installment of Ask a Doctor, UT Health San Antonio physician Dr. Fred Campbell answers more of Texas Standard listeners’ most pressing questions about the coronavirus.

How can my family celebrate Halloween safely this year?

Celebrating this year depends on how the pandemic is playing out in your community. In Campbell’s hometown of San Antonio, for example, the percent infection rate has grown, so he says there, it’s probably better to celebrate at home. If you do celebrate with friends or a small group, he says wearing masks and social distancing is essential.

While celebrating at home isn’t the same as trick-or-treating, it can still be fun. You could fill a piñata with candy inside, or organize a candy hunt in your apartment, house or back yard.

When is it safe to go out in public after you’ve recovered from COVID-19?

Most people who recover seem to develop immunity, Campbell says. So they should be able to go out in public again about 10 days after symptoms disappear.

But reinfections are possible, so he says wearing a mask and practicing social distancing are important even after recovery.

What is driving the recent rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Texas? How do I stay safe?

Campbell says the surge is most likely due to people letting go of preventive measures.

“I believe that we have a resurgence of disregard for some of the most basic preventative techniques … being at least 6 feet away from other people in social activities, ventilating inside areas and, of course, wearing masks,” he said.

As people get back to these practices,  that shard help curb the spread.

Is it safe to gather inside with friends now that it’s getting colder outside?

Like the flu, Campbell says it’s likely COVID-19 will spread more easily because of colder temperatures, and because those temperatures drive more people inside to gather. But you don’t have to forgo gathering altogether, he says, as long as you wear masks, stay 6 feet apart and make sure the indoor space is well ventilated.

And though it won’t protect from COVID-19, getting an influenza vaccine is also a good idea.

“It is never too late during the the season to get a [flu] shot,” he said.

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