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Tips to stay safe and healthy this Thanksgiving

October 12, 2015 Photo; For Use With AP Lifestyles
Posted at 11:58 AM, Nov 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-17 14:51:52-05

Millions of families will gather for Thanksgiving. It's a significant shift from the height of the pandemic when families remained isolated out of fear of spreading COVID-19.

The virus has not gone away.

However, Americans are more protected than ever due to vaccines and prior infections.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports about 289,000 weekly cases of COVID-19.

At the same time last year, that number was more than double.

Hospitalizations are also down dramatically this year compared to 2021.

Health officials still recommend getting vaccinated or boosted to protect against the virus.

In addition, they are warning about the spread of flu and RSV.

There is a vaccine to protect against the flu, but there is no vaccine for RSV.

To avoid spreading potentially-dangerous germs, the CDC recommends:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper shirt sleeve, not your hands
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid close contact, such as kissing, shaking hands, and sharing cups and eating utensils, with others
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and mobile devices

Germs from other people aren't the only things to worry about on Thanksgiving.

The USDA says people should follow basic steps to protect against foodborne illnesses:

  • Clean and sanitize
  • Avoid cross-contamination
  • Thaw the turkey safely (Never thaw your turkey in hot water or leave it on a countertop.)
  • Cook food thoroughly
  • Avoid stuffing turkey as it often leads to bacteria growth
  • Don’t leave your food sitting out too long (Refrigerate all perishable foods sitting out at room temperature within two hours of being cooked, or one hour if the temperature is 90º F or above.)