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Prevention Tips

Prevention TipsViral Respiratory Illness Prevention

Prevention strategies are good health hygiene including washing your hands, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, staying home if you are ill, avoiding close contact with those who are ill, and covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue or sleeve – not your hands.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Stay home if you are sick! Call ahead to speak with your doctor's office, medical clinic or emergency room to tell them about your symptoms and  recent travel history.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick - keep at least a 6-foot distance.

  • No handshaking! Use an elbow or fist bump, foot tap, etc. to greet one another.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Disinfect commonly touched surfaces such as counters, tables, keyboards, and doorknobs.
  • Avoid sharing drinks, eating utensils, sports equipment, towels and bedding.
  • Keep healthy by eating a balanced diet, drinking water, getting enough sleep, and managing stress.
  • Obtain a preventative vaccine such as the flu shot if available.


Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others from getting sick. Frequently wash your hands to prevent spreading germs such as viruses and bacteria:

  • Before eating food
  • Before and after
    • preparing food
    • treating a cut or wound
    • caring for someone who is ill
  • After sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose
    • using the toilet, helping someone else toilet, changing diapers
    • handling animal food or waste
    • touching garbage

Handwashing Steps

  • Wet hands with clean, running water, turn off the water and apply soap.

  • Lather the palms, backs of your hands, between fingers and under your nails for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse well under clean running water and dry your hands.

For more information: Call 1-800-CDC-INFO or view Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.