On March 1, 2024, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new Respiratory Virus Guidance for the general public and in community settings, which provides practical recommendations and information to help people lower health risks posed by a range of common respiratory viral illnesses, including COVID-19, flu and RSV. 

This guidance does NOT apply to healthcare settings. CDC offers separate, specific guidance for healthcare settings (COVID-19, flu, and general infection prevention and control).​

Core Prevention Strategies

​CDC guidance emphasizes the following prevention strategies for common respiratory viral illnesses: ​​ ​​

  • Stay up to date with immunizations - find a COVID-19 or flu vaccine near you at
  • Practice good hygiene (practices that improve cleanliness).
  • Take steps for cleaner air.
  • When you may have a respiratory virus:
    • Use precautions to prevent spread.
    • Seek health care promptly for testing and/or treatment if you have risk factors for severe illness; treatment may help lower your risk of severe illness.
    • You can also order four free COVID-19 tests per household from the federal government, while supplies last:
NOTE: Guidance updated on post-infection guidelines​

Prior CDC guidance advised that individuals who test positive for COVID-19 stay home for at least 5 days and isolate themselves from others in the home. 

Updated CDC guidance for respiratory viruses is as follows: ​

  • Stay home and away from others (including people you live with who are not sick) if you have respiratory virus symptoms that aren't better explained by another cause. 
  • You can go back to your normal activities when, for at least 24 hours, both are true:
    • Your symptoms are getting better overall, and 
    • You have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication). 
  • When you go back to your normal activities, take added precaution over the next 5 days.​​

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