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Navigating Pandemic Holidays During or After Mesothelioma Treatment

Family with face masks holiday dinner celeration

This year, many people may feel comfortable returning to larger holiday gatherings. However, a mesothelioma diagnosis can complicate the season, especially during a pandemic. Cancer patients have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. This risk may make them feel safer staying away from group activities.

Still, patients with cancer have options for enjoying holiday events. COVID-19 precautions can help make these gatherings safer. Patients can also take advantage of virtual events. There are ways mesothelioma patients can enjoy the festivities while protecting their health.

Continue Making Socially Distanced Plans

The holiday season is a time to celebrate traditions with loved ones. Individuals with mesothelioma may worry about participating in these events. Cancer and its treatments can depress the immune system, increasing patients’ risk of illness.

For years, there have been health guidelines to help keep cancer patients safe. Public health precautions against COVID-19 can help further protect patients. Since 2020, these precautions have made gatherings more cancer-patient-friendly.

Many events have shifted to virtual spaces, which can also make them easier to attend. In-person events are often outdoors with a limited number of attendees. Thus, mesothelioma patients may feel comfortable enjoying socially distanced holiday celebrations.

Celebrate Holiday Traditions Safely

Sharing traditions with loved ones is a special part of life. By following pandemic and cancer guidance, mesothelioma patients can continue making holiday plans.

There are many creative ways to celebrate the holidays in 2021, including:

  • Attending virtual holiday meals
  • Baking and cooking over video
  • Coffee chats over the phone
  • Drive-thru holiday lights
  • Enjoying small celebrations with household members
  • Joining religious holiday services virtually
  • Online shopping and gift-giving
  • Ordering premade holiday meals
  • Sending handmade gifts or food to loved ones
  • Zoom game nights

Protect Your Health

After a mesothelioma diagnosis, health-promoting practices are more important than ever. Organizations like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provide recommendations for cancer patients. This guidance includes advice for maintaining health during cancer treatment and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Precautions During Cancer Treatment

  • Eat fruits and vegetables
  • Get a flu shot
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Stay away from tobacco
  • Take a daily shower or a bath
  • Wash your hands often

COVID-19 Precautions for Cancer Patients and Survivors

  • Avoid crowds and poor ventilation
  • Get the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Stay 6 feet away from others
  • Wash your hands often
  • Watch for fever and infection symptoms
  • Wear a well-fitted face mask

In addition to following health organizations’ guidance, mesothelioma patients can also get personal support from a doctor. Virtual medical providers can offer individualized support for their patients in these times. Technology and pandemic alternatives may help mesothelioma patients comfortably join many holiday celebrations.

Mental and Emotional Well-Being

Mental and emotional well-being are other key parts of health. Missing holiday traditions with loved ones can be difficult. Participating in socially distanced celebrations may help patients feel fulfilled and involved. Mesothelioma patients can also practice mental and emotional self-care in other ways.

Mesothelioma patients can focus on mental and emotional health with practices such as:

  • Acknowledging difficult feelings
  • Asking for help with holiday tasks, such as gift wrapping
  • Communicating often with family and friends
  • Creating or maintaining a relationship with a cancer therapist
  • Having loved ones plan safe holiday celebrations
  • Joining virtual cancer groups
  • Journaling
  • Meditating
  • Reaching out to medical professionals for other support options
  • Resting as often as needed

Navigating the holidays with mesothelioma does not have to mean missing important events. Cancer patients do face real COVID-19 risks, but there are many unique ways to get into the holiday spirit.