Each week, OMRF President Dr. Stephen Prescott opens “Adam’s Journal” to answer a medical question from OMRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Adam Cohen.
Here’s a question from a reader:
My husband and I are in our mid-70s, and he has possible health complications. Our daughter and son-in-law tested positive for COVID-19 the week before Thanksgiving and had moderate symptoms. We are very cautious on following recommendations; they are not.
Would it be completely safe to get together with them for Christmas? If so, would masking, distancing and other precautions still be recommended?
— Janis Bleins
Dr. Prescott Prescribes
The Centers for Disease Control uses a three-pronged test to determine when someone who’s been infected with the virus can safely be around others. To meet that test, the person must satisfy all three of the following factors.
First, it must be at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared. Second, they must have gone at least 24 hours with no fever (and no fever-controlling medications, like ibuprofen). Finally, all of their other symptoms — except loss of taste and smell, which can persist for months — must be improving.
From your description, it sounds likely that your daughter and son-in-law meet all these requirements. So, it should be safe to see them for Christmas.
Still, I’d recommend following all safety protocols, as there have been documented cases of people becoming reinfected. And given your age as well as your husband’s potential comorbidities, much better to be safe than sorry.
That means wearing masks when indoors and maintaining six-foot physical distancing.
Meal times can be especially perilous, so try to eat outside — or at least with the windows open — while maintaining distancing and avoiding communal sharing of foods or utensils.
Good for you for being vigilant. Especially during the holidays, the temptation to let our guards down is strong. But having stayed healthy through the pandemic, now is not the time to get lax.
Vaccines are on the way. Until then, keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing.
Do you have a health query for Dr. Prescott? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and your question may be answered in a future column!