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How to stay healthy during the upcoming holidays

SCDHEC experts have several things you should keep in mind heading into the holiday season as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control experts are giving safety tips to keep you and your family safe with upcoming holidays.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot of the traditions and events we experience every year.

Some events have been cancelled while others are trying to make adjustments to make it fun and safe for everyone.

Dr. Michael Kacka, a DHEC Medical Consultant and Chief Medical Officer for the COVID-19 response, says people need to assess what plans they have.

"People need to keep in mind that the traditional Halloween activity, some of them can be pretty high risk for transmitting the COVID-19 virus," said Dr. Kacka. "Traditional trick or treating is going to be a little bit more of a risky activity, there's going to be a little more close contact and we certainly don't want different children reaching into the same bowl and grabbing candy."

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People can help with safety by having pre wrapped candy available, practice social distancing, wear a mask and limit to small gatherings.

"I think it's best the people try to keep their gatherings as small as possible and not mixing too many people from different households," said Dr. Kacka. "Like even when we're talking about family members who live in different households, extended families that are in different households, it's kind of best to as much as possible keep gatherings small, not mixing too many different households."

Dr. Kacka also believes outdoor settings are safer than having indoor gatherings.

Some experts are concerned the upcoming holidays may lead to a second wave of the coronvarius.

"Certainly with families gathering together with a lot of different households coming together, there's more potential for the virus to transmit," explained Dr. Kacka. "We're always watching for the potential for more cases and that's why we're highly encouraging people to practice all the preemptive actions that we know are effective at preventing the virus."

Dr. Kacka believes you don't have to cancel future family holiday activities but you should be mindful.

"It's been a tough year for everyone and we certainly want people to be able to enjoy their holidays," said Dr. Kacka. "I think that's going to be very important, but also at the same time, taking those steps where they can make sure they're protecting their family and not transmitting the virus."

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