Be COVID safe this season

As the festive season is approaching us, here’s a timely refresher on how to reduce your risk of picking up an infection. Practicing these few safe steps may be helpful in having a COVID safe Christmas while celebrating with family, friends and even travelling to see loved ones.

Top tips to reduce your risk of infection

  1. Good hand hygiene

    Hand hygiene is everyone’s responsibility. This practice is easy to do and helps prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19, Influenza, other respiratory illnesses and even the gastro bug. Find out when and how your should wash your hands or use hand sanitiser.

  2. Wear a face mask

    Although most places have lifted the restriction on wearing face masks, it is still sensible to wear a face mask when attending aged care, hospital facilities and inside where there are lots of people like shopping centres. It is up to everyone to make this choice to protect themselves. The Tasmanian Government gives this advice on the use of face masks.

  3. Social distance when you can

    When in social or busy environments, keeping a distance of 1.5 metres may be required. Open windows to encourage air flow, or even better, attend events outdoors when possible.

  4. Stay up to date with COVID-19/Influenza vaccination

    Are you up to date with your COVID-19/Influenza booster? Get your COVID-19/Influenza booster dose as per the ATAGI and health provider advice including other preventable disease vaccines. See information below.

  5. Stay home if unwell and get RAT or PCR tested

    Despite official isolation requirements being relaxed, it still stands that if you are unwell or have any COVID-19, respiratory infection or gastro symptoms staying home is likely to reduce the spread of infection in the community. If you must go out, it is recommended that you wear a mask, cover your cough and use hand sanitiser regularly. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or another respiratory infection do take a rapid antigen test (RAT) or contact your GP or respiratory clinic for further assessment and testing. Register your positive COVID-19 test result which may also give you access to remote healthcare to manage your infection by through COVID@homeplus.

  6. Seek medical advice

    Most people with mild or moderate symptoms of COVID-19 will be fine to recover at home. However if you are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, your symptoms are worsening or you have prolonged symptoms you need to seek medical advice through your GP or COVID@homeplus. If your symptoms worsen suddenly or become more serious, or you feel like it is an emergency, call 000 or go straight to hospital.

Are your vaccines up to date?

COVID-19 Vaccine

ATAGI recommends a 2023 COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for adults in the following groups, if their last COVID-19 vaccine dose or confirmed infection (whichever is the most recent) was 6 months ago or longer, and regardless of the number of prior doses received, based on an individual risk benefit assessment with their immunisation provider.

Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccine

Yearly influenza vaccination is recommended for people aged 6 months and over. Pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for people age 70 years and over. Both vaccines are free under the National Immunisation Program for those who are eligible.

Shingles (herpes zoster) Vaccine

From 1 November 2023, the shingles vaccine Shingrix® will replace Zostavax® on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) schedule for the prevention of shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia. It will be available for eligible people most at risk of complications from shingles. Anyone who wants to protect themselves can talk to their GP, pharmacist or vaccination provider about getting vaccinated.

We hope these tips help you and your loved ones to have a COVID safe Christmas and stay well through the festive season.

This information is general in nature and individualised medical advice should be sought from a general practitioner (GP) or appropriate medical practitioner.

Salveo Healthcare provides these blog resources to support Tasmanians as part of the Advanced Preventative Care Program.