Medical City Healthcare - October 15, 2020

With fall festivities in full swing and Halloween fast approaching, physicians in North Texas have organized traditional activities into low, moderate, and high-risk categories according to CDC guidelines. The CDC’s considerations are not meant to replace state or local health and safety laws regarding holiday gatherings, but rather to supplement them. You should assess current COVID-19 levels in your community to determine whether to attend or host any holiday celebrations.

While the CDC recommends modifying some traditional Halloween festivities this year to avoid high-risk activities involving close contact, there are still plenty of fun fall activities that you can enjoy with your kids. As with all activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are things you can do to help keep everyone safe.

“The three most important things you can do to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 in North Texas are to wear a mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing,” says Miguel Benet, MD, division chief medical officer of Medical City Healthcare. “But one of the most powerful things you can do is wear a mask.”   

It should be noted that a costume mask does not take the place of a cloth mask UNLESS:

  • It’s made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face

If this is not the case, opt for a Halloween-themed cloth mask instead. NEVER wear both a cloth face covering and a traditional costume mask as this may make it hard to breathe.

COVID-19 Halloween: Know your risk

The list below was compiled by physicians in the newly formed North Texas Medical Society Coalition (NTMSC), which is made up of the Collin-Fannin, Dallas, Denton, Grayson and Tarrant Medical Societies. The NTMSC’s more than 11,500 members make it one of the largest physician-led COVID-19 alliances in the southern United States. It was created to collectively advise and inform North Texas communities with scientifically based information.

Low-risk activities:

  • Carving and decorating pumpkins with members of your immediate household or with friends at tables 6-10 feet apart, separated by household
  • Halloween scavenger hunts with members of your immediate household
  • Decorating your home
  • A virtual Halloween costume contest with your school, friends and/or family
  • A physically distanced Halloween movie with an outside screen and projector, or a family movie night inside with the members of your immediate household
  • A piñata at home with members of your immediate household

Moderate-risk activities:

  • A small group (less than 10 people) outdoor costume parade while maintaining physical distance and wearing a cloth face covering
  • Individual goody bags set up on an outside table for grab-and-go trick or treating; consider leaving hand sanitizer for added safety
  • Visiting pumpkin patches while maintaining physical distance and wearing a cloth face covering

High-risk activities:

  • Traditional trick or treating door-to-door
  • ‘Trunk or treat’ events, fall festivals and carnivals
  • Haunted houses
  • Hayrides
  • Outdoor gatherings that do not allow for physical distancing
  • Indoor parties or events with individuals outside your immediate household

Additional precautions to help keep you safe:

  • Get your flu shot as soon as possible
  • Use hand sanitizer regularly and avoid touching your face
  • Wear a cloth face covering if you are participating in any Halloween activities with people other than those living in your home
  • Wash your hands well before eating
  • Do not participate in activities with other people if you are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19

COVID-19 and flu

Because it’s possible to have COVID-19 and flu at the same time—potentially causing more severe symptoms or a greater risk for complications—getting a flu shot is one of the best ways to protect your family’s health this fall and winter.

You can get flu shots for the whole family for just $20 each at CareNow® Urgent Care clinics located across North Texas. No appointment is necessary or you can take advantage of convenient online Web Check-In®, which allows you to save your spot in line while you wait safely at home.

At Medical City Healthcare, we’re dedicated to the care and improvement of human life. So, we hope you’ll Take Care!

For more information, call our Ask a Nurse hotline 24/7 or use Find a Doctor online.

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