Preventing COVID-19

Preventing COVID-19

older woman young child touching hands

Translated information in: العربية / Arabic | မြန်မာစာ / Burmese | Chinese SimplifiedChinese Traditional |  دری / Dari | English | Français / French | Kirundi |नेपाली / Nepali | پښتو  / Pashto Soomaali / Somali | Español / Spanish | Swahili | Tiếng Việt / Vietnamese

In the fall and winter, you are more likely to get sick with respiratory viruses that affect your lungs or breathing, like COVID, flu, RSV and colds. This can be especially difficult for those who are at higher risk of getting very sick due to certain medical conditions or being immunocompromised. There’s a lot you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.

More from CDC on how to prevent getting sick 
Compare Flu and COVID-19 (CDC) 
Find what medical conditions can increase risk (CDC)
More guidance for people who are immunocompromised (CDC) 

STAY UP TO DATE ON VACCINATIONS

Vaccines are the best tool we have to protect ourselves against COVID-19 and flu –especially for people at higher risk of getting very sick. Protect yourself and your loved ones by getting vaccinated now or get your updated COVID-19 booster shot if it has been at least two months since your last dose. Save time and get your flu shot at the same visit!

More on how to get vaccinated 

PREVENT THE SPREAD OF GERMS 

Whether it’s COVID-19, flu, RSV or another contagious illness, everyday measures can protect you from getting sick or spreading germs:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or tissue.
  • Avoid contact with others if you or they are sick.
  • Consider wearing a mask, especially if you or people you are with are at higher risk of serious illness, or if you have recently been around someone with symptoms of COVID-19. Learn more and find free N95 masks (CDC) 

GET TESTED WHEN NEEDED

Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms or, if you are unvaccinated or not up to date on your vaccines and are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. It's especially important to get tested if you are at higher risk for COVID-19, so you can reach out to your health care provider to ask about treatment.

Learn more about testing

TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OPTIONS

Antibiotics do not treat viruses, like those that cause colds, flu, RSV or COVID-19. For most people, respiratory viruses usually go away in a week or two without treatment.

Anti-Viral Medicines to Treat Illness

If you tested positive for COVID-19 or flu and are at risk of getting very sick, your doctor may prescribe an anti-viral medicine. Anti-viral medicines can help reduce your symptoms, length of illness, and risk of needing medical attention. Adults ages 50 and older, and those with certain medical conditions are at higher risk of serious illness for COVID-19 and flu. Babies and young children under 5 are also at higher risk of getting very sick from flu.

Learn more about treatment for COVID-19 
Learn more about treatment for flu (CDC)  

For People Who Are Immunocompromised

Immunocompromised means a person’s immune system might not be able to offer enough protection - even after vaccination - putting them at higher risk of serious illness. This could be due to a medical condition or from other medicines or treatments. Please contact your health care provider to understand prevention measures and possible treatment options if you become exposed or sick with COVID-19.

More guidance for people who are immunocompromised (CDC)