To score the most points during football’s biggest game of the year may mean scaling back your super Sunday plan. 

As COVID-19 vaccinations continue to be given around the country, it’s important to keep Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines in mind during your game day celebration; including masking, social distancing and frequent handwashing. 

HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Jennings said even if you’ve already received the COVID-19 vaccine, you could still be able to spread it to others.

“After you are vaccinated, your body knows what to do with the virus if you become exposed, so you don’t get sick or at least as severely ill. However, we don’t yet know if you can pass it to others while your immune system is doing its work,” he said. “Let’s get to the goal line! Large gatherings could spread this disease, resulting in an unfortunate penalty that affects everyone.  Help us achieve immunity!”

Jennings’ recommendation is to keep your football party small and limited to only those who live in your household since you can’t stay masked while eating game day treats! Additional tips:

  • Opt for a more digital experience by watching the game together, virtually; Zoom is offering free football backgrounds for a limited time around Feb. 7.
  • Keep hand sanitizer in common areas like the kitchen and living room.
  • While outside does allow for more social distancing, the extremely cold temperatures expected Sunday may make this option too dangerous in some areas.
  • Consider individual foods servings to avoid sharing utensils and passing dishes.
  • If serving drinks, consider pre-mixing a few cocktails and serving from a pitcher to avoid everyone handling the same ingredients and bottles.

Besides COVID-19 safety precautions, there are other things to keep in mind while celebrating on game day.

  • If you don’t feel well, stay home and away from others.
  • Do not drink and drive; designate a sober driver if celebrating away from home. 
  • Always wear your seat belt when traveling.
  • Be mindful of putting extra stress on your heart.

Jennings said it can be easy to stress out or get really excited during the game.  “If you feel shortness of breath, chest pressure or chest pain, you need to get medical help right away,” he said.  “St. Mary’s emergency department is safe and open 24/7 if you need care.”

Media Contact

Andrew Dilbeck

HSHS Illinois
Office: 217-464-5610

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