News COVID-19 Infectious Disease

Holiday safety tips from Institute Faculty Scholar & infectious disease specialist

Written by the COVID-19 Update team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Photo: KrakenImages, Unsplash

As we approach the holiday season, WashU Med infectious diseases specialist Steven Lawrence, MD, says it’s important to keep in mind that COVID-19 activity remains high, with case numbers rising in the region and much of the country.

Vaccines, now available for children as young as 5 years old, reduce the risk of infection and dramatically reduce the risk of serious illness and death. In addition to getting vaccinated, Lawrence suggests:

• Mask when indoors, particularly when transmission is high
• Stay home if sick with any symptoms consistent with COVID-19
• Get tested if you have symptoms before engaging in group or work activities
• Have events outdoors when possible, or in a space with good ventilation
• Create safer eating situations by allowing for distancing, having smaller groups and groups who live together
• Avoid crowds (i.e. at a buffet line or bar)
• Test prior to gathering to reduce the risk of having an asymptomatic or presymptomatic person at the event

Taking multiple precautions is especially important in higher risk situations, such as hosting unvaccinated or immunocompromised guests, or living in a community with high transmission. Use additional layers of protection if traveling to areas with very high levels of transmission or coming in contact with visitors coming in from such areas.
Visit the WashU Med coronavirus website for more holiday safety tips.