Respiratory Infections in the Workplace

Respiratory infections can have a major impact on business operations. NIOSH actively works to minimize work-related risks of catching respiratory infections in the workplace through research, service, and partnerships. NIOSH works closely with other parts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other federal agencies, and non-governmental partners. Employers can use these resources to prevent and respond to respiratory infections in the workplace.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Seasonal Influenza

Each workplace is unique and a worker’s risk for job-related exposure to seasonal influenza (flu) can vary widely depending on the nature of their job. Visit the CDC influenza website for information on flu. Keep your workplace healthy with the following actions:

Prevent the spread of flu in the workplace

10 steps employers can take now, and during the flu season, to help protect the health of employees.

Promote flu vaccination

Tips for hosting a free on-site flu vaccination clinic for your employees. If hosting a flu vaccination clinic at your workplace is not possible, learn about other ways to encourage vaccination.

Remind workers to stay home when sick

What employers and employees should know about staying home when sick.

Find more workplace guidance and seasonal flu information for:
Prevent Respiratory Infections

Ventilation and Engineering Controls

Improving building ventilation can reduce risk of exposure to respiratory viruses and reduce the spread of respiratory infections.

Ventilation in Buildings

This page has specific strategies to improve building ventilation and answers to frequently asked questions.

Upper-Room Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI)

UVGI is the use of ultraviolet (UV) energy to kill viral, bacterial, and fungal organisms. This page has considerations for selecting, installing, using, and maintaining an Upper-Room UVGI system.

Cleaning and Disinfection

Regularly cleaning surfaces helps prevent the spread of germs that can cause respiratory infections.

When and How to Clean and Disinfect a Facility

This guidance is for cleaning and disinfecting buildings in community settings (such as offices, gyms, businesses, and community centers). Healthcare settings have different guidance.

Monitoring Respiratory Infections

RESP-NET Interactive Dashboard

The Respiratory Virus Hospitalization Surveillance Network (RESP-NET) comprises three platforms that conduct population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed hospitalizations associated with COVID-19, Influenza, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) among children and adults.

National Emergency Department Visits for COVID-19, Influenza, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus

The National Emergency Department Visits for COVID-19, Influenza, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus site provides a combined view of emergency department visit data for multiple respiratory conditions as tracked by the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP).

COVID Data Tracker

The COVID Data Tracker provides hospital admissions, deaths, and emergency department visits data as primary surveillance metrics for COVID-19.

COVID-19 by County

Find hospital admission levels and prevention steps by county.

How to Use COVID Data Tracker: Business Owners and Operators