Doctor provides tips for Halloween safety during COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 4:50 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2021 at 6:10 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As the countdown continues for the tricks and treats of Halloween, an infectious disease specialist from VCU Health is advising families to take some precautions to make sure everyone stays safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes as Dr. Anthony Fauci says families can feel safe trick-or-treating outdoors this year.

Dr. Suzanne Lavoie, an infectious diseases specialist and professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, echoes these same guidelines as long as families keep their trick-or-treating outdoors.

“Going up with a mask to somebody’s house and saying ‘trick-or-treat’ I think is very short exposure,” she said. “I definitely think that kids should wear masks when they’re doing that.”

Dr. Lavoie says wearing the mask for your costume doesn’t count as a face mask to protect you against COVID-19.

“For the old-time plastic masks, they clearly have an open mouth and nose for kids to breath through. We would want those covered up underneath,” said Dr. Lavoie. “They could also wear it on top of that mask.”

As for the candy, Dr. Lavoie suggests checking candy to see if the packaging is open and making sure you check it before your kids eat it.

“I think parents should use the same sort of understanding about going to neighbors’ houses that they know, being careful about length of time they’re exposed to people who might not have a mask on and looking at the candy,” she said. “I think it’s always a good idea to tell children not to eat the candy along the way until parents have the chance to look at it.”

Dr. Lavoie’s biggest piece of advice is to stay in small groups.

“I certainly probably wouldn’t recommend that they go in groups, big groups of five to 10 kids together outside of household members,” she said.

She also suggests those who haven’t gotten the COVID-19 vaccine and plan to trick-or-treating should get it.

Dr. Lavoie says the vaccine will not only protect you, but those who are not eligible to get the shot yet.

“Taking away people’s Halloween, kids’ Halloween, is something that we can definitely not do, and try and bring some of that normalcy back,” said Dr. Lavoie.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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