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The CDC released recommendations today for how people can protect themselves and their communities from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. The new guidance brings a unified approach to addressing risks from various common respiratory viral diseases such as Covid-19, influenza and RSV, which cause significant health impact and burden on hospitals and healthcare workers. The CDC is updating its recommendations because the U.S. has far fewer hospitalizations and deaths related to Covid-19, and we have more tools than ever to fight the flu, Covid, and RSV.

“Today’s announcement reflects the progress we’ve made in preventing severe disease from COVID-19,” said CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen. But we still need to use common solutions we know work to protect ourselves and others from serious illness from respiratory viruses—including vaccination, treatment, and staying home when sick.

As part of the guidance, the CDC provides proactive recommendations on key preventive measures and strategies:

  • stay Timeliness of vaccination To protect people from serious illness, hospitalization and death. This includes flu, covid-19 and RSV if eligible.
  • Practicing good hygiene By covering coughs and sneezes, washing or sanitizing hands frequently, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.
  • Take steps for more airSuch as bringing in more fresh air, purifying indoor air or collecting outdoors.

When people are sick with a respiratory virus, the revised guidelines recommend staying home and staying away from others. Treatment is available for people with both covid-19 and influenza and can reduce symptoms and reduce the risk of serious illness. The recommendations suggest to return to normal activities for at least 24 hours when the symptoms generally improve, and if there is a fever, it is gone without using antipyretic drugs.

For the next 5 days after resuming normal activities, people are encouraged to take additional preventive strategies to prevent the spread of disease, such as taking extra steps to clean air, improving hygiene practices, wearing a well-fitting mask, social distancing, and/or testing for respiratory viruses. Enhanced precautions are especially important for those at risk of serious illness, including those over 65 and those with weakened immune systems. The CDC’s updated guidance specifically reflects how circumstances around Covid-19 have changed. Although it remains a threat, today, due to the widespread prevention and improved equipment for the prevention and treatment of the disease, the risk of serious illness is much less. Importantly, states and countries that adjusted recommended isolation periods did not see an increase in hospitalizations or deaths related to Covid-19.

Although not every respiratory virus acts in the same way, adopting a uniform approach to limiting the spread of disease makes it easier to follow recommendations and more acceptable and does not rely on individuals to diagnose illness, the data indicates that practice is not equal.

“The bottom line is that when people follow these practical tips to avoid getting sick and protect themselves and others if they get sick, it helps to limit the spread of respiratory viruses, and that means fewer people who get seriously ill,” said Dr. Demetrius Daskalakis, National Director of Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. This includes taking improved precautions to help protect people who are at risk of becoming seriously ill.

The updated guidance includes special sections for people at risk of severe illness from respiratory viruses, including immunocompromised people, people with disabilities, people who are pregnant or have recently become pregnant, young children and the elderly. Respiratory viruses remain a public health threat. CDC continues to make efforts to ensure that the public has information and tools to protect themselves, families, and communities and reduce risk or respiratory illness.

This updated guide is intended for community settings. No changes to respiratory virus guidelines for healthcare settings.