As the COVID pandemic has stretched on, the side effects of social isolation led many people to form Bubble Families. These social bubbles consist of people who want to be cautious about who they are exposed to, yet still enjoy some socialization with select family members and friends who have agreed to limit their contact with people outside of their group.
This behavior loosened somewhat over the summer. The warmer weather offered the opportunity to enjoy time outside, which is believed to provide another layer of protection against contracting the virus.
“The COVID-19 virus is primarily spread from person to person through respiratory droplets released into the air when talking, coughing, or sneezing. When you’re outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So, you’re less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected,” notes the Mayo Clinic website.
However, as we enter the fall and winter seasons, experts are saying it’s time to shrink your COVID social bubble back to early pandemic levels.
Why It’s Important
People are becoming more exposed to others as they have returned to work and school — just as we also enter the cold and flu season. And, as the weather starts to turn colder, people will be spending more time indoors. The result is more opportunities for all viruses to be more easily spread.
For that reason, it may be wise to shrink your COVID social bubble sooner rather than later.
Every person you come in contact with essentially exposes you to everyone who they have come in contact with. This increases your risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Without a vaccine or herd immunity, the only protection we have continues to be social distancing and wearing masks.
How To Shrink Your COVID Social Bubble
- There are people you cannot avoid being around. When deciding who to keep in your bubble, consider choosing people who you already must spend time with.
- Choose people who get the flu vaccine. While the flu shot does not protect against the coronavirus, having the flu will tax your immune system, making you more vulnerable to any exposure to COVID-19. Protection against the flu will also help to prevent overburdening our health care systems and testing supplies.
- Only include people who agree to limit their contact with others. This requires complete transparency. Some people don’t consider situations where they are outside or wearing masks, even if they attend an event with dozens of other people. Make sure everyone agrees on the contact limitations.
- Agree to spend time with other families only outside or wearing masks if inside.
- Have a network of 4-6 families. Sets of two families can spend time together, and every few weeks, you can swap the family you spend time with.
- Pick families who have the same number of children that you have, and who are of similar ages.
- Come to an agreement on what makes you comfortable regarding evaluating the relative safety of getting together each time. This could include temperature checks and symptoms, monitoring COVID-19 cases in your area, and avoiding socializing if it reaches a certain level.
If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it is that being with other people is incredibly important for our mental health. With proper precautions, we can enjoy that while still protecting everyone’s physical health.