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Seven Simple Steps to Preparing Your Family for the Winter Ahead

Posted by Harry Banschick, MD, Director of Pediatrics
Holy Name Medical Partners on November 13, 2020

Harry Banschick, MD, Director of Pediatrics

Now is the perfect time to get a jump start on some simple preparations all of us can do to keep our children and families healthy and safe during the upcoming holidays, the onset of colder weather, and a potential overlapping flu-COVID season.

At Holy Name Medical Center and in the offices of Holy Name Medical Partners, we are practicing strict cleaning protocols and following social-distancing guidelines so we can help you and your family stay healthy.

  1. Make sure your family’s vaccines are updated, especially flu vaccines. Everyone over the age of 6 months should be vaccinated against the flu, with rare exceptions (those with severe life-threatening allergies to the vaccine or one of its ingredients). Pregnant women and even those with egg allergies should get vaccinated. Check with your pediatrician or other healthcare provider if there are check-ups or health screenings that need to be completed.

  2. Review the sick-child policies of your child’s school and/or day care center if you are working, even at home. Create a back-up plan for care provided in your home by trusted relatives, friends, and/or regular babysitters. Develop a 14-day quarantine plan for your home, just in case family members are exposed to COVID-19, staggering virtual school schedules with another adult in your home.

  3. Stick to your child’s familiar routines to help with their physical and mental health. Make wake-up times, mealtimes, and bedtimes consistent. Cook favorite meals together. Play nightly board games. Feed your pets together. Take rest breaks and exhale.

  4. Take care of yourself, too. Eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, get at least seven hours of sleep each night, and schedule a little “me time” every day, even if it’s just 15 minutes.

  5. Stock up on necessary medications, toiletries, and shelf-stable foods:

    • Thermometer and fever-reducing medications (acetaminophen, ibuprofen)
    • Water, apple juice
    • Plastic bandages, triple antibiotic cream
    • Disinfectant wipes and sprays, alcohol wipes
    • Soap and shampoo
    • Extra diapers, wipes, formula
    • Canned soups, fish, and vegetables
    • Paper supplies (no hoarding!)
    • Batteries and flashlights

  6. Limit visiting indoor spaces to essential trips, i.e., grocery stores, pharmacies. Wear masks, social distance from others for at least 6 feet, wash hands frequently, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you have no access to soap and water.

  7. This one's the hardest – don’t let your kids hug their grandparents!! Create a holiday plan that limits groups to less than 10 people who are within your “safe bubble.” Be flexible about backyard options, if weather permits. Open windows and allow for ample ventilation. Set up several spaced-out tables for dining. Wear masks while inside and social distance with relatives and other guests within at least 6 feet.

As the number of people with COVID-19 starts to rise again in the northeast, be assured that Holy Name Medical Center continues to practice stringent cleaning protocols and follows social distancing guidelines while helping you and your family meet your healthcare needs and goals. Our approach to caring for patients who have and do not have COVID reflects the same level of vigilance and safety initiated at the onset of this crisis.

To schedule an in-person or telemedicine appointment with a Holy Name provider, visit HolyNameMedicalPartners.org.