News You Can Use: Keep Family Events from Becoming Super Spreaders

UM student health expert shares how to avoid possible COVID-19 exposure during holidays

UM health experts advise people to consider forgoing traditional holiday get-togethers due to COVID-19 and to protect the safety and well-being of family members. Adobe Stock photo

OXFORD, Miss. – While holidays are usually times for extended family to gather for feasting and fellowship, it’s probably best for many people to forego traditional get-togethers whenever possible in these COVID-19 times, a University of Mississippi health expert advises.

Susan Sullivan Gunn, staff physician at University Health Services, recommended not hosting or participating in any in-person festivities if you or anyone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past 10 days or has tested positive and still has fever and symptoms. Those can include cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Susan Gunn

“Those at risk of attending are those at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19,” Gunn said. “This includes adults over 65 years old with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, chronic kidney disease, cardiomyopathy, immunosuppression from solid organ transplant, obesity, sickle cell disease, smoking and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.”

Although when compared to adults, children have been less affected by COVID-19, children with underlying medical conditions are also at increased risk compared to those without them, she said.

“If any family members or friends that are at high-risk for COVID-19 due severe illness attend a gathering you attend, please help protect them by wearing your mask, socially distancing and sanitizing as needed,” Gunn said.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more tips on holiday celebrations and small gatherings and considerations for events and gatherings.