CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The thanksgiving holiday is over, but plenty of holiday gatherings are still coming up this year.

The holidays are a time to get together with loved ones, but health experts recommend taking precautions to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses. Health officials say with new sub-variants of covid circulating, as well as RSV and the flu, family gatherings for the holidays can pose a risk for spreading respiratory illnesses.

People at high risk include young children, older adults, and people who are immunocompromised. Patrick Leonardo of AMR told 22News to get tested for COVID if they are not feeling well, before seeing their loved ones.

“We have Christmas coming up and New Year, and that was the peak of when we saw our demand for testing go up, and it was pretty severe when it happened last year. It’s not as dramatic as last year, but we are starting to see an increase in folks getting tested,” said Leonardo.

Health officials say that getting vaccinated against covid and the flu is the best way to protect yourself. Mask-wearing and washing your hands often are also other ways to mitigate the spread of illnesses. If you are looking to get a COVID test, the AMR covid testing site at the Eastfield mall has reopened since thanksgiving.