How to safely gather with loved ones during the holidays

Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 1:19 PM CST
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(CNN) - With omicron surging, coronavirus is once again threatening to ruin the holiday spirit, but health experts said you can still enjoy the festivities if you take precautions.

“I want people to gather, but I want people to gather safely,” said Dr. Carlos del Rio at Emory University School of Medicine. “I’m going to gather with my family. We’ve limited the number of people that are there. Everybody is going to be vaccinated.”

Health experts said getting vaccinated is still the best defense, and a booster shot increases that protection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommendations for gathering during the holidays.

The CDC said gathering outdoors is safer than indoors and to avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.

If you are sick or have symptoms, do not host or attend a gathering and also consider using a home self-test before joining indoor activities.

“If you test in the afternoon before coming over and everyone is negative, yeah, then I think you can relax,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner at George Washington University.

If your guests include kids that are too young to be vaccinated, experts said they may be more at risk than ever before from getting infected because the effect of omicron on young kids isn’t known.

When it comes to attending large outdoor events, experts say you can go, but make sure you are vaccinated, have gotten a booster and wear a mask.

The CDC also recommends you wear a mask indoors if you are not fully vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated, mask up when the transmission rate is high in your community.

People traveling by air should be extra careful about wearing masks in crowded airports. Once you land, make sure you have a plan for what happens if you test positive.

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