Local health experts issue guidance to help you have a safe and enjoyable Christmas

Local health experts have issued guidance on how best to protect yourself and your loved ones over the festive period, to make sure everyone can enjoy Christmas and stay well.

The NHS and Leeds City Council’s public health team has issued some helpful hints on how to stay safe and avoid putting yourself or others (particularly the elderly or those most vulnerable) at risk of catching illnesses this winter.

To provide the best protection:

  • Get vaccinated against Covid and flu if you are eligible
  • Stay at home if you have symptoms of Covid, flu or other illnesses
  • Wash your hands regularly and carry sanitiser when you’re out and about
  • Carry tissues to catch coughs and sneezes
  • A small amount of ventilation can help to reduce the possibility of transmission

After two Covid disrupted festive periods, everyone is looking forward to getting together with friends and families this year, but it’s still important to be mindful of Covid, Flu and other seasonal illnesses this Christmas.

Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health and active lifestyles, said: “We want everyone to continue to enjoy their festive activities and Christmas plans, but we do need to be mindful of our individual and collective responsibilities to protect our friends, families and communities.

“We’ve come a long way in our Covid recovery and that, in part, is due to the increased hygiene measures we’re all used to such as washing our hands more frequently, carrying hand sanitiser, and staying away from others if we’re unwell. What remains crucial is that as many people as possible are fully vaccinated as this represents our best defence against the spread of Covid and Flu”

Dr Sarah Forbes, Medical Director at the Leeds office of NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, said: “Nationally and locally, we’re seeing an increase in people being admitted to hospital or attending A&E with respiratory illnesses. Seasonal infections can not only make people feel really poorly – which no one wants at Christmas – but they can also be very serious for some people like older people or those with underlying health problems.

“They also have a significant impact on health services, which are under a great deal of pressure at the moment. So please protect yourselves and others by practising good hygiene, getting vaccinated if you’re eligible and keeping away from others if you’re unwell.”

Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council’s director of public health added: “We want people of Leeds to stay safe and have a lovely Christmas, so we are urging everyone to continue to follow the latest advice. This means washing your hands regularly and getting vaccinated against Covid and Flu.

“We also encourage staying away from others if you have symptoms, particularly if you are seeing someone who is at a greater risk. We can all play our part in keeping the city safe over the festive season and beyond.

“Let’s stay safe and well this Christmas.”

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