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How to Protect Yourself and Others

How to Protect Yourself and Others
Updated Apr. 4, 2024

CDC’s Respiratory Virus Guidance provides strategies you can use to help protect yourself and others from health risks caused by COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. These actions can help you lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission (spreading or catching COVID-19) and lower the risk of severe illness if you get sick.

Core Prevention Strategies


CDC recommends that all people use core prevention strategies to protect themselves and others from COVID-19:

  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines.
    • Although vaccinated people sometimes get infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines significantly lowers the risk of getting very sick, being hospitalized, or dying from COVID-19.
  • Practice good hygiene (practices that improve cleanliness)
  • Take steps for cleaner air

When you are sick:

Additional Prevention Strategies

In addition, there are other prevention strategies that you can choose to further protect yourself and others.

Key Times for Prevention

Using these prevention strategies can be especially helpful when:

  • Respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19, flu, and RSV, are causing a lot of illness in your community
  • You or those around you have risk factors for severe illness
  • You or those around you were recently exposed to a respiratory virus, are sick, or are recovering

Check Your Community

Find out if respiratory viruses are causing a lot of illness in your community. Data updated weekly.

Get the Latest on COVID-19, Flu, and RSV

Learn more about all three of these respiratory viruses, who is most at risk, and how they are affecting your state right now. You can use some of the same strategies to protect yourself from all three viruses.

Get the Latest on COVID-19, Flu, and RSV

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