NY — As New Year’s Eve festivities begin this weekend, the New York City Department of Health is reminding New Yorkers to take health precautions.
Health Commissioner Dr Ashwin Vasan said, “For many it is a time to spend time with loved ones.” “But to do that, we have to keep ourselves and others safe too, so we’re sharing some simple tips for New Yorkers and their communities on how to celebrate more safely.”
We’re already into cold and flu season, which may have many wondering which virus is causing their symptoms. This is what you need to know.
- Help prevent the spread of COVID-19, flu and other respiratory viruses by: with vaccinations (you can travel NYC Vaccine Finder to find sites). It is safe to have a booster dose along with the flu shot. You can also call 877-829-4692 to make an appointment at certain locations and for other vaccination assistance. Stay home if you feel unwell, wear a mask indoors or in public at crowded outdoor events, and get tested for COVID-19 before gatherings. And of course, continue to keep your hands clean.
- Have safe sex: Use condoms or use HIV PrEP as appropriate.
- Be careful with alcoholic beverages: If you’re going to be drinking, try to decide ahead of time how much alcohol you plan to drink and how you plan to get home safely if you do trip. If you cannot walk, use a designated driver, public transportation or taxi. Dine in first and enjoy appetizers in the evening. Go at your own pace and drink non-alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated. And please be aware of any medications you may be taking and whether they can increase the effects of alcohol on your body.
- If you’re going to use drugs, avoid doing it alone: Create an overdose safety plan with someone who knows what you are using and can call 9-1-1 in case of an overdose or emergency. If you are going to drink alone, call the “Never Drink Alone” hotline at 800-484-3731 before use so that someone can monitor your safety over the phone. If you use drugs, use small amounts at first.
- Please avoid mixing drugs or mixing drugs and alcohol: The simultaneous use of different medicines including alcohol increases the risk of overdose. If you do this, go slow and consume small amounts at first.
Whether you use drugs or not, carry naloxone, a safe drug that can reverse overdoses of heroin and other opioids, including fentanyl. If you use narcotics, keep naloxone out where others can find it.
Dr. Dayana Jimenez provides us with valuable advice and resources focused on the Hispanic community. Video produced by Sandra Escalon.