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    Infectious Diseases A-Z: When you should skip a party

a festive holiday dinner table with family and friends
Holiday parties are in abundance this time of year. You can partake in food and drinks, and gather with friends. But if you're not feeling well, should you cancel your plans to attend?

Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist Dr. Pritish Tosh says, "When you are around a lot of people, you’re going to be around some people who are sniffling. And, certainly, cold viruses can be spread from person to person. People don’t want to miss the holiday festivities. And, so, they may come a little sick or bring their kids who are a little sick, because no one wants to miss a party. Of course, that puts you at risk of giving or getting everyone else’s infection. And, so, ideally, if you’re not feeling well, try not to go."

Watch: Dr. Pritish Tosh explains when to skip a party.

 Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites are in the downloads.

And Dr. Tosh says it's important to have good hand and respiratory hygiene.

"If you have to cough or sneeze, do it into your elbow rather than into your hands, so that we’re really limiting the spread of germs."

It's not too late to get an influenza vaccine if you haven't had one yet this season. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine each year.

Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever over 100.4 F (38 C)
  • Aching muscles, especially in your back, arms and legs
  • Chills and sweats
  • Headache
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat