We love Halloween, but are still concerned about COVID-19 exposure and things like monkeypox. How can I keep my kids safe while letting them have fun?
Halloween is a favorite holiday for many children and adults alike. From the decor to the costumes, the day’s festivities certainly spark the imagination. As a pediatrician, I want everyone to enjoy Oct. 31 in good fun and in good health by following a few safety guidelines.
First, given the continued spread of COVID-19 in the community, I encourage eligible individuals, aged 6 months and older, to get vaccinated against the virus. Children who are 5 years and older can get the COVID-19 booster if it’s been five months since they completed their two-dose vaccine series. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and the best way to prevent serious illness and death from the virus. The same can be said for flu shots, which I also strongly recommend. COVID-19 and influenza, or flu, vaccines can be safely given at the same time, which may be more convenient for some families.
Additional safety measures families should consider while celebrating Halloween are wearing masks, staying outdoors and avoiding crowds. To limit the number of individuals at a door during trick-or-treating, let kids or small groups take their turns and give each other the appropriate space. Instead of a communal bowl of candy, consider handing out individually wrapped goodies, especially non-edibles like stickers. Parents should carefully inspect their kids’ Halloween stash and ensure everyone washes their hands before eating any treats.
There’s been a lot of news coverage about monkeypox. While the disease is uncommon in children, everyone can help prevent the spread of monkeypox by washing their hands frequently and avoiding shared utensils or close, skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a rash that looks like monkeypox.
Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 or monkeypox should contact their physician for further instructions.
Dr. Maryann Davies is a CHOC pediatrician who treats children and teens in Orange County. She attended medical school at A.T. Still University School of Medicine and served her residency at Loma Linda University Medical Center.