Respiratory viruses like COVID-19, influenza (flu), and RSV can cause a range of symptoms, including but not limited to cough, fever, chills, headache, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, chest discomfort, decrease in appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue (tiredness), muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell, weakness, and wheezing. If you are sick or test positive for a respiratory virus, it is important to take steps to help prevent the spread of the virus to others in your home and community and to reduce your likelihood of getting very sick. Stay home and away from others, get tested if accessible, and get treatment if you are eligible.

Take Steps to Avoid Spreading COVID-19 or Another Respiratory Virus to Others

If you have respiratory virus symptoms that are not better explained by another cause (such as allergies) or test positive for COVID-19 or another respiratory virus, follow CDC guidance for staying home and away from others; this includes people you live with who are not sick.

You can go back to your normal activities when both of the following have been true for at least 24 hours:

  • Your symptoms are getting better overall, and
  • You have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication).

You can tell your symptoms are improving when you start to feel better and you feel well enough to fully participate in your activities, such as learning in a classroom or completing tasks at work. A respiratory virus infection can have many types of symptoms, some of which can last beyond when someone is contagious (able to spread the virus), such as a lingering cough. Having a single symptom or a combination of symptoms is not as important as the overall sense of feeling better and the ability to resume activities.

When you go back to your normal activities, wear a mask and take added precautions over the next 5 days, such as taking steps to improve air flow and filtration, practicing good hand hygienecleaning regularlyphysical distancing, and testing when you will be around other people indoors. You may still be contagious with a respiratory virus after returning to your normal activities, so it is important to take additional precautions.

Preventing Spread of Respiratory Viruses When You’re Sick (from CDC)

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