Decalogue for a safe Christmas dinner
Measurements like wear the mask between plates, during preparations as well as after dinner after lunch or avoiding Christmas carols indoors are vital to minimize risk during meetings
While negotiations continue to agree on the measures that will make up the plan to celebrate Christmas in the country, the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, has already advanced that "there won't be 17 Christmases". However, individual responsibility within homes will be the key to preventing events such as Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve dinner from becoming a perfect breeding ground for the transmission of the virus.
The first precaution is undoubtedly refrain from attending these family gatherings if symptoms develop compatible with Covid-19 -fever, sore throat, excessive tiredness, loss of taste ...- until there is a negative serological test.
Without suspicion in sight, it could be possible to be asymptomatic and therefore it is necessary to take extreme precautions when cohabiting and non-cohabiting unite to celebrate the holidays, regardless of the threshold of guests established by the Government with the autonomous communities.
"When you enter a house you already think that it is safe ground and we no longer have to use the mask, but we have to get used to it ", alerts Eduardo Martínez, professor at the University of Malaga and expert in Microbiology and Epidemiology, who establishes together with La Opinion de Malaga, a newspaper belonging to the same group as this medium , a decalogue of preventive measures for the upcoming Christmas holidays.
The first measure to take into account is the suitability of the environment for dinner or lunch, which must be as ventilated as possible, that is, keeping the windows open, even leaving the heating on as much as possible and using the braziers to heat the room.
Along these lines, it would be convenient to use large tables that allow diners to be kept as far apart as possible. Therefore, Eduardo Martínez maintains that "It is not so much the number of people as the possibility of space, of renewing the air and that people are separated enough that the risk is minimal. "
It is essential that all guests wear the mask at all times, since as the epidemiologist already points out, the house is not "safe ground" against the virus.
Saliva is the main route of transmission of the virus, so it is important to eliminate shared dishes, especially in the case of salads since a fork is used to bring the food to the mouth and then it is returned to the plate.
Martínez's proposal is to take those appetizers already distributed or make dishes in which only diners who are living together share. Even so: "The less we share, the better."
During meal preparations, between courses and, above all, after dinner, it is vital to ensure that everyone wears the mask and they comply with the respiratory label.
Specifically, the time after dinner is the most conflictive and where more awareness has to be had about the importance of maintaining precautions. "You already relax, you take off the mask that overwhelms you and that is where there may be more risk of contagion", emphasizes the expert. "It's difficult to do it because the tendency when you feel safe at home is to remove your masks."
Regarding the possibility of singing Christmas carols, the ideal is to avoid indoors and always do it with a mask. "If you want to sing Christmas carols, you go out to the balcony with your mask on."
The epidemiologist rules out the use of plastic dishes since, beyond the generation of non-renewable waste, washing with hot water and plenty of soap is enough to clean and disinfect the dishes. "Dishes are put in the dishwasher at 50 degrees and with a wash cycle they are perfect, there is no problem ".
If you do not have a dishwasher, washing them with hot water and plenty of soap would be enough. "You can wash with hot soapy water but you don't have to burn your hands. Don't be messy with soap, and with a good lather it stays clean. If you mix temperature with detergent, the virus is very sensitive. "
"It is a relatively cheap price that you have to pay to be able to celebrate Christmas with more security ", Eduardo Martínez thinks about measures that will protect the elderly and risk measures.
Although the ideal thing would be for older people to refrain from attending all kinds of meetings, the epidemiologist points out that mental health is another basic pillar that must be taken care of: "We are going to weigh things up. Maybe for a little sacrifice on our part we can welcome our elderly people with peace, peace of mind and more guarantee ".