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Festive SpecialHealth

How to host a safe physical & digital Navratri celebration

By Dr Farah Ingale, Director-Internal Medicine, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi ~

The entire first half of this year turned out to be tumultuous for the majority of the Indian population, primarily swept over by the second wave of COVID19. Currently, vaccination numbers have rapidly increased, and COVID19 cases in most parts of the country are seeing a dip.

 As the Navratri season is here, people are venturing out to enjoy themselves after being locked away for more than a year. But there is a constant worry about inviting people home or celebrating the festival in a crowded setting. The famous English tune ‘No place like home for the holidays’ seems more relevant today than ever before, as we navigate celebrations in the COVID19 era.

 Most experts across the country have insisted that staying home is the safest option. After months of isolation, economic anxiety, and pandemic fatigue, it is entirely understandable that people are yearning to see their family members and meet with friends, especially during the festivities.

 However, we must be conscious of our reality. Large parties/gatherings, brushing off masks, and physical distancing can have serious consequences – the impact of which will be felt beyond your circle. The good news is, with some modifications, you can still make the most out of your favourite time of the year. Festivals bring hope and light, and we must hold onto this meaning if we cannot celebrate them in the way we have in the past. 

 Here are the government guidelines to keep in mind for ensuring people’s safety while celebrating the victory for the greater good.

  • The Maha government has put a stop to GarbaDandiya and other Navratri celebrations in a public setting
  • The governing body has urged community pandals to promote online darshans and limit the entry of people to five at a time
  • Processions, food and beverages are prohibited in the pandals, thus ensuring that everyone is masked-up

The governing officials have also asked people to give more importance to health awareness camps, blood donation and vaccination camps.

GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW SHOULD YOU HAVE CELEBRATIONS AT HOME:

  • Have online darshans with family during aarti or keep gatherings small and short
  • Bring home eco-friendly idols or those made of metal to avoid going outside for immersion
  • Ventilate the rooms or host the event in the terrace/balcony for natural ventilation
  • Help your guests follow COVID19 appropriate measures – provide masks, alcohol-based hand sanitisers, soap & water, tissues and closed-lid bins
  • Follow guidance issued by local public health authorities before you plan a gathering

IF YOU PLAN TO GO OUT, HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO FOLLOW TO REDUCE THE RISK OF INFECTIONS, INCLUDING CORONAVIRUS.

¾    Prevent crowds and celebrate festivals with all precautions

¾    Wear a mask at all times and maintain physical distancing of six feet or two meters

¾    Sanitise your hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds)

¾    Go out with only your social bubble

¾    Do not spit

¾    If you get stuck in a crowd by chance, make sure you are wearing a mask and avoiding face-to-face contact

¾    Wash your clothes with detergent after coming back home and take a hot water bath

¾    Experts suggest that those with respiratory concerns or a compromised immune system must refrain from going out at any cost

¾    Consult a doctor without delay if you notice any symptoms after returning home

THIS FESTIVE SEASON COULD BE CELEBRATED DIFFERENTLY LIKE THIS:

  • Be there for each other. A virtual call or small gathering with distancing can be done. Act with empathy
  • Gifts can be a way to share the love with family and friends
  • Be aware of overindulging – it’s essential to keep an eye on what you’re drinking and eating
  • Celebrating with children – this may be a time your children get together with cousins or their friends. You can keep them connected through video calls so they feel included. Spend more time and indulge in some fun activities with them
  • Maintain traditions – you could try to stick to the rules. Whether it’s making a particular meal or decorating your home on a specific day, by maintaining these, you can create a sense of normality

We can’t become complacent and let our guards down completely yet. It is crucial that we’re conscious until the maximum population gets fully vaccinated or we reach herd immunity. Until then, we can continue following our traditions and enjoy ourselves with family & friends while observing COVID-appropriate behaviour.

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