A UNL professor provides prevention tips for safer holiday gatherings

As many of you plan to visit family this holiday season, health officials and a UNL professor want you to do so safely.
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — As many of you plan to visit family this holiday season, health officials and a UNL professor want you to do so safely.
A UNL professor says having Thanksgiving outside is a good idea to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“For all the research that I’ve done, a lot of time we find out the contaminants indoor are usually two to five times higher than the contaminants outdoors,” said Josephine Lau, a UNL architectural engineering professor.
She also is encouraging families to focus on the air in your home if you choose to dine inside.
“The additional protection you can add on to minimize the airborne transmission is to improve ventilation and also adding additional air purification if needed,” said Lau.
So how can you improve ventilation in your home to protect your loved ones? Lau says an extra step can be to buy UVC light air purifiers as she has done research in classrooms saying it kills airborne viruses indoors. As for eating, she recommends not passing the plate this year.
“You dish out the item for each person or if that is not possible, maybe you have a designated person wearing a mask while dishing out items to the people on the table,” said Lau.
The Lincoln Lancaster Health Department also released tips advising to consider how many people are at each gathering.
Prioritize safety for special needs of children and those in a high-risk category. They add to try sharing a meal through video chat or video conference for social distancing. Lau also advises you to wear a three-layer mask.
“So that extra precaution that you can do because it’s really a very effective source control,” said Lau. “You are blocking all your droplets in the first place, so they are not in the air. They are not coming out. We have a saying, I wear my mask for you and you wear a mask for me.”
Lau says all these tips can work with washing your hands and cleaning surfaces.

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