As travel restrictions lighten this holiday season, so do the hearts of families all over the world who have missed gathering to eat, drink, and be merry. After another unpredictable year in a global pandemic, many of us are ready to get back to warm embraces and gifts under the tree rather than video calls and packages in the mail. With the rollout of the COVID vaccinations and loosening of social distancing protocols, we are feeling safer to do so. Nevertheless, a lot has changed about traveling and group gatherings. Plan ahead with Züpmed’s Holiday Gathering Checklist to be sure it really is the most wonderful time of the year!
1. If you are traveling, know your destination’s COVID restrictions
Whether you’re planning on taking planes, trains, or automobiles to get there, your destination will have its own set of COVID protocols and requirements. Masking and social distancing protocols vary greatly across the country. Proof of vaccination status and/or a recent negative COVID test may be required for entry to certain events or venues. And if you plan to jingle all the way to another country, many will have mandatory testing requirements for entry. This may sound like a lot of humbug, but don’t let it dampen your holiday spirit. Let Züpmed take care of the testing details at our Laurelwood clinic or our newly opened location in Terminal B Ticketing area of the Memphis International Airport.
2. Make sure you are up to date on all vaccines – not just COVID
Although COVID vaccines and boosters continue to be the most urgent, let’s not let our other tried and true life-saving vaccinations fall to the wayside. Here are a few vaccines you may want to consider, keeping in mind you need at least 2 weeks before your holiday gatherings for solid immunity to develop– keeping yourself and others merry and bright:
- Influenza – Yearly flu vaccination is recommended for persons 6 months and older.
- Pneumonia – Two doses of the pneumonia vaccine, given at least a year apart, are recommended for persons 65 years and older. One to 2 doses may be recommended for younger patients in special situations such as chronic heart disease or diabetes.
- Tdap booster – A dose of the combination tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine should be given at least once every 10 years. This vaccine is especially important to consider if you have a new baby in the family.
- COVID booster– If you are at high risk for COVID infection, and it has been six months or longer since your last COVID vaccination, it’s time to think about getting your booster.
3. Pack your pandemic essentials
If nothing else, a comfortable, well-fitted mask is a necessity to bring with you wherever you go. A few extra masks for forgetful family members are also helpful to bring along with your good tidings. Travel-sized hand sanitizer should be kept on your person for disinfecting no matter where you are. Bringing some disinfecting wipes to clean surfaces isn’t a bad idea either. Finally, especially if you are traveling, check your list twice to make sure you have your vaccination card and/or quick access to a photo of it. Ask us about our signature ZüpMed Travel Pak, with OTC and prescription medications, individualized for your specific domestic and overseas travel!
4. Continue to take precautions around others
Even as restrictions are lifted or reduced, it remains important to be mindful of your surroundings, as COVID is still present and probably will be for a while. It is advisable to wear masks around any unvaccinated people to protect them. Even with small gatherings, wearing a mask indoors is suggested in areas of high transmission. Check the case load through the local health department websites and be aware that this changes regularly. And, although you generally don’t need to wear a mask outdoors, it is recommended to continue to wear masks in large gatherings, whether they are indoor or outdoor. If anyone in your party develops symptoms, take precautions and try to keep them separated until testing can confirm what you are dealing with.
5. Be prepared to return home
Most importantly, make sure every member of your travel party is symptom-free to reduce the chances of unintentionally bringing COVID back with you. While it would be best to do an at-home COVID test before returning, that may not be realistic for everyone. However, as of November 8th, testing is a requirement if you are returning to the U.S. from another country. Don’t sacrifice any comfort or joy searching for a testing center in an unfamiliar place. Visit a Züpmed clinic before traveling to purchase a test to take with you and we will schedule a convenient 15-minute telehealth appointment to confirm your self-administered test results and send you (via email) all the necessary documentation to make it home safely!
You can look forward to a much more cheerful holiday season by planning ahead with Züpmed! Call us for an appointment, or if we can help in any way, 901-701-7010.