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Feeling sick after your get-together?

A woman lies in bed looking at a thermometer.

It's a wonderful thing to be able to gather with friends and family again. But get-togethers are still a bit different in the COVID-19 era.

Anytime you've been around a group, it's worth paying extra attention to how you're feeling over the next several days, even if you're fully vaccinated. It's possible to get sick even after you've been vaccinated. And if you're unvaccinated, you're even more at risk.

Here's what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you should do if you start to feel sick:

1. Get tested. COVID-19 symptoms may appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure to the virus. Tell your doctor that you may have COVID-19 and need a test.

2. Stay home if you think you might have COVID-19. While you're waiting for your test results, stay away from other people, including people who live with you, if possible. For example, you may be able to stay in a separate room in your home. Ask your doctor or the health department when you can safely be around others again.

3. Alert anyone who gathered with you. While you wait for your results, get in touch with anyone you came in contact with. Tell them that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Unvaccinated people may need to start quarantining right away. When deciding whom to call or text with this news, keep the following in mind: You can spread COVID-19 starting two days before you have any symptoms or test positive.

4. Follow your doctor's instructions if you test positive. Keep an eye on your symptoms. Seek medical care right away if they get worse—for instance, if you have pressure in your chest or trouble breathing.

5. Work with the health department. A contact-tracing specialist may call you. They are public health workers. Their job is to help identify and notify others who may have been exposed to the virus.

Get more stay-well tips in our Coronavirus health topic center.

Reviewed 11/4/2021

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