Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

As families prepare for the holidays and a fresh, hot meal, it’s important to be aware of and prepare for prices at the grocery store which have steadily increased in recent months.

In their 2021 Food Price Outlook, the USDA highlighted “The food-at-home (grocery store or supermarket food purchases) CPI increased 1.1 percent from August 2021 to September 2021 and was 4.5 percent higher than August 2020.” It further noted that for 2021, “wholesale poultry prices are predicted to increase between 18.0 and 21.0 percent,” given the steady increases over the past few months.

Meal preparation counts as just one component to take into consideration when getting ready for the holidays. But staying healthy and taking the necessary precautions to ensure a safe holiday should also be included in the planning process as well.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises everyone to check on the status of COVID-19 at the planned destination prior to traveling. Additionally, the CDC advises those traveling to get a viral COVID-19 test one to three days prior to leaving for the trip if not fully vaccinated.

And while it may be a given, washing your hands frequently should not be overlooked. This easy task may be small but it can prevent transferring germs from outside to you and your personal spaces. The CDC recommends that everyone should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap under warm water.

Wearing a mask has proven to be effective to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, not to mention it also keeps your face a little warmer during the colder months — an added bonus. During travel, depending on where you live or where you’re traveling to, you may be required to wear a mask over the nose and mouth within indoor public transportation facilities, according to the CDC.

Grocery stores and shopping malls continue to grow more crowded as people prepare to splurge and feast for the holidays. And because we never truly know the health status of the people around us, wearing a mask remains an essential step to prevent spreading or contracting viruses. To learn more about the effectiveness of mask-wearing, go to the CDC website for information.

According to an article from the University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture and Life Science, cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats. Surfaces like countertops and other frequently occupied and touched surfaces should also be disinfected regularly. Take that extra minute you may have to spare to wipe up those germs — you’ll be grateful you did in the long run.

This is the time of year to enjoy the people that matter most to you and one way of showing them you care includes taking those extra steps to keep them and yourself safe and healthy.

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