DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Health experts advise taking precautions ahead of getting together with family and friends for the holidays.

The Duke Human Vaccine Institute says the omicron variant is more transmissible than previous variants and symptoms are showing up within one to three days, compared to the delta variant when it might take a week. That’s why experts say to strictly follow COVID-19 protocols so you avoid getting the virus and consider getting a PCR test.

“The higher you are on sensitivity and the higher you are on specificity, is the best testing platform and that generally starts with PCR and then drops down a bit with every other testing platform or option that’s out there,” said Dr. Thomas Denny with the Duke Human Vaccine Institute.

When you return from your destination, Denny says you might want to get tested again or keep your distance until you know you’re COVID-free and won’t pass the virus on to someone else.

“Think about who you’re going to be around and exercise a little caution until you’re sure or you’re over a period when the infection would occur,” Denny said.

The institute says research continues to prove that getting the booster will provide excellent protection against COVID-19.