A family gathers in the kitchen and preps a big mealThe holidays are just around the corner, and nobody wants to be the person who gets the entire family sick at Thanksgiving dinner! Prepare now to help keep yourself and your loved ones safe from COVID, flu, RSV, and other bugs floating around this holiday season:

Get your COVID bivalent booster and flu shot.

The new boosters contain an updated bivalent formula—this means the shot will boost your immunity against the original coronavirus strain and the newer Omicron variants. Updated boosters provide great protection against the virus and address waning vaccine effectiveness over time. Visit our website to learn more, check your eligibility, and make an appointment.

Getting your seasonal flu shot is a great way to help protect yourself from getting sick. CDC recommends flu shots for people 6 months old and older. You can get a flu shot and COVID shot at the same appointment. Check with your vaccinator to see if they offer flu shots too.

Your body needs time to respond to the vaccines—both flu and COVID—so getting them at least two weeks before an event will give you the best protection (get your shots by November 9 to be ready for Thanksgiving)!

Have COVID rapid home tests on hand.

You don’t want to be on the hunt for a rapid test when you don’t feel well. Wisconsinites can order a free package of rapid antigen COVID-19 tests that will come directly to your door. Visit Say Yes COVID Test to place your order. (Is your test expired? FDA extended the dates on many tests. Check expirations on their website.)

Take a COVID test if you feel sick.

Take a rapid home test if you have symptoms. If it’s negative, follow-up with a PCR test (find testers on our website). If it’s positive, follow our isolation instructions.

Stay home if you’re sick.

Even if your COVID rapid home test is negative, stay home if you’re sick. First, it can sometimes take a few days for enough COVID virus to build up in your body that your test comes back positive (our blog explains why).

Second, even in a world without COVID, staying home when you’re sick prevents viruses from spreading to others! With flu, RSV, and other seasonal illnesses, staying home when you’re sick helps protect coworkers, friends, and neighbors—especially babies and older adults. If you’re under the weather and absolutely must leave home, be sure to mask up.

Remember the basics: cover your cough and wash your hands.

These two things are incredibly simple and lower the ability of all these viruses to travel to new hosts. Cover up those coughs and sneezes and wash your hands often!

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Public Health Madison & Dane County and a link back to the original post.