We could all use a little holiday cheer this year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the safest way to celebrate the winter holidays is to celebrate at home with people who live with you. Blood cancer patients and survivors are not at greater risk of catching COVID-19, but a blood cancer diagnosis might put you at a greater risk of getting sicker if you do get the virus. While it is safest to gather only with those in your home, if you do plan to host or attend a small holiday gathering, talk to your healthcare team and follow the CDC’s safety suggestions for small gatherings. Learn more on the CDC website and follow any state or local health and safety laws, rules or regulations.
While celebrating at home, follow these tips for a happy and safe holiday season:
-Create a new holiday tradition. Watch a holiday movie while video chatting with loved ones. Decorate cookies with the people who live in your home. Be crafty and make ornaments or decorations out of things you already have at home. Record yourself reading a favorite story or singing a carol and send it to loved ones.
-Attend a virtual holiday event. Many holiday performances and religious services are streaming online for free this year. Search online for events.
-Just say no. If you are invited to an event that could increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19, don’t feel pressured to attend. Ask to do a virtual video chat instead.
-Follow food safety guidelines when preparing and storing food. Refrigerate foods within two hours of serving to prevent foodborne illness. Reheat leftovers to 165°F. Learn more about food safety here.
-Ask your doctor about alcohol. Alcohol can interact with some medications. Ask if it safe for you to consume alcohol. If so, how much? If alcohol is off the table, use sparkling juices or water and sodas with a slice of lime or cherries to create a festive drink.
-Allow yourself to be upset. Even though the holiday season is often called the happiest time of the year, it’s okay to feel sad or disappointed. It’s been a stressful and uncertain year for many. If you find that your feelings are beginning to interfere with your daily life, ask your healthcare team for a referral to a mental health professional.
-Send thank you cards to essential workers. Healthcare professionals, grocery store workers, mail carriers, bus drivers, sanitation workers and other essential workers have done so much this year to keep providing all of us with needed services.
From all of us at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), we wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season!