• By Alex Osiadacz

Mayo Clinic Minute: Winter, holidays and keeping safe from COVID-19 and other viruses

December 14, 2021

As the end of the year approaches, it's only the beginning of the season for illnesses like the cold and flu. Add COVID-19 and other viruses to the list, and that can damper plans or even make gatherings dangerous.

So, what can you do to keep safe?

Dr. Tina Ardon, a Mayo Clinic family medicine physician, explains the steps you can take now to boost your health later.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (0:59) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please courtesy: "Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.

Winter weather and holiday festivities are driving folks indoors, but that could be putting you at greater risk of getting sick. Not only are COVID-19 variants of concern, Dr. Ardon says it's the time of year for respiratory illnesses.

"Washing your hands, wearing a mask when you can and social distancing is more important than ever this winter season," says Dr. Ardon.

But that's not all. Vaccines offer an extra layer of protection. For women who are pregnant, Dr. Ardon says there are three vaccines to consider this season.

"Consider influenza vaccination if you're in influenza season. That can be given any time during our pregnancy to help protect mom and baby," says Dr. Ardon. "The second is the TDAP or diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis booster, which is against whooping cough. That's indicated for women in their third trimester. And now we have the COVID-19 vaccine that's extremely important for pregnant women that, again, can be received anytime during pregnancy to help protect mom and baby."

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For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a nonpatient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Learn more about tracking COVID-19 and COVID-19 trends.

Dec. 19, 2021 - Mayo Clinic COVID-19 trending map using red color tones for hot spotscoronavirus-covid-19-map-2021-12-09-16X9