Health Department

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our administration office at 10777 Main Street in Fairfax is open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. Clinic services are not offered at this location.
703-246-2411 TTY 711
10777 Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22030
Gloria Addo-Ayensu, M.D., M.P.H.
Director of Health

Healthy Habits to Help Protect Against Respiratory Viruses

Practicing healthy habits can help you reduce the chances of getting and spreading respiratory viruses like flu, RSV, and COVID-19. These germs can be easily spread by:

  • Coughing, sneezing, or talking when in close proximity to others
  • Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands after touching contaminated surfaces or objects

Learn more about core and additional prevention strategies. The more healthy habits you adopt, the better you can prevent illness caused by a respiratory virus and keep others around you healthy.

Core prevention strategies.

The CDC recommends that all people use core prevention strategies. These important steps you can take to protect yourself and others include: immunizations, healthy hygiene (practices that improve cleanliness) habits, making air cleaner, and following guidance when you are sick.

Learn more below about these strategies. 

vaccine iconStay Up to Date with Recommended Immunizations

Stay up to date with the immunizations that are recommended for you to lower your risk of getting sick or very sick.

  • COVID-19: Staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines significantly lowers the risk of getting sick, being hospitalized, or dying from COVID-19. Everyone 6 months and older is eligible for an updated COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • Flu: A yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Everyone 6 months and older is eligible for a flu vaccine.
  • RSV: There are new immunizations to protect those most at risk of getting very sick with RSV: infants, toddlers, and adults 60 years and older.

Learn more about: COVID-19 vaccines | Flu vaccines | RSV immunizations

Find a COVID-19 or flu vaccine near you.

Learn more about this core prevention strategy, see: Immunizations for Respiratory Viruses Prevention

house iconStay home when you are sick

New guidance provides the same recommendations for all respiratory viral illness — whether its caused by COVID-19, flu, RSV, or the cause is not known.

  1. Stay at home and away from others until at least 24 hours after both:
    1. Your symptoms are getting better overall, and
    2. You have not had a fever without using fever-reducing medication.
  2. Use prevention strategies below for 5 days when you resume normal activities. This includes taking additional steps for cleaner air, hygiene, masks, physical distancing, and/or testing when you will be around other people indoors.

Ideally, people with cold-like symptoms should not interact with children at high risk for severe RSV disease. If this is not possible, carefully follow the prevention steps, wash hands before interacting with the children, and refrain from kissing high-risk children.

Learn more about this new guidance.

handwashing iconWash your hands — often

Washing your hands frequently is the most important and easiest action you can take to lower your chance of getting sick and spreading illness.

Always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Help kids build healthy habits by teaching them how to wash their hands correctly. Watch: Your Health Is in Your Hands With the Help of a Shark.

Learn more about key times to wash your hands and what to consider when using hand sanitizer.

person coughing into a tissue iconCover your coughs and sneezes

Covering coughs and sneezes can help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. Help stop the spread of germs:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Throw the tissue in the trash afterward.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Immediately wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

Help kids build healthy habits by teaching them how to cover their coughs and sneezes.

Learn more about this core strategy, see: Hygiene and Respiratory Viruses Prevention.

Don't touch iconClean surfaces regularly and avoid touching your face

When you touch your eyes, nose, and mouth, germs can enter your body through the mucous membranes causing infection. Protect yourself:

  • Clean frequently touched surfaces, such as countertops, handrails, and doorknobs regularly.
  • Wash your hands at keys times, like before touching your face, putting in contact lenses, and eating.
  • Use a tissue for your nose.
  • Use a tissue to scratch or rub your eyes or to adjust your glasses.
  • Prevent itchiness by using facial moisturizer for dry skin and eye drops for dry eyes.

Learn more about this core strategy, see: Hygiene and Respiratory Viruses Prevention.

People sitting around a table talking iconTake steps for cleaner air

Some germs spread in the air between people. This happens more easily in indoor, crowded spaces with poor airflow. 

When you gather with others consider how crowded the space is and how well ventilated it is. To reduce the risk of exposure, bring fresh air into your home by opening doors and windows, or move activities outside where airflow is best.

Learn more about this core prevention strategy, see: Steps for cleaner air‎.

Additional prevention strategies.

The CDC recommends additional prevention strategies to further protect yourself and others These important steps include using masks, physical distance, and tests.

Learn more below about these strategies. 

mask iconConsider wearing a mask

The closer you are to a greater number of people, the more likely you are to be exposed to respiratory viruses. Generally, masks can help act as a filter to reduce the number of germs you breathe in or out. 

If you have been sick and start to resume your normal activities, wearing a mask for 5 days is one of the strategies you can take to help prevent getting other people sick. 

You can choose to wear a mask at any time. When choosing to wear a mask, choose the most protective type you can. There are many different types of masks that have varying abilities to block viruses depending on their design and how well they fit against your face. 

Learn more about this additional prevention strategy, see Masks and Respiratory Viruses Prevention.

Covid-19 home test and medicine iconsKnow your testing and treatment options

If you have respiratory virus symptoms, getting tested can help you know what illness you have. It will also help let you know the steps choices to make for prevention and testing. 

Learn more about COVID-19 tests.  Find a COVID-19 Test to Treat location.

Learn what to what to do if you get sick with: COVID-19 | Flu | RSV

People sitting around a table talking iconAdd physical distance

Putting physical distance between yourself and others can help lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus. There is no single number that defines a “safe” distance, since spread of viruses can depend on many factors.

Infectious droplets and particles build up closer to the person who is releasing them.The closer you are to someone who has a respiratory virus, the more likely you are to catch it. Avoid being near someone who has respiratory virus symptoms.

Learn more about this additional prevention strategy, see Physical Distancing and Respiratory Viruses

More ways to stay healthy.

Find more resources and ways to stay healthy. 

Icon of a person with an apple in one hand and a weight in the other Practice other healthy habits

Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Find resources from the CDC.

Connect with us iconStay Informed

Stay informed about what is happening in our community. Read our updates and find us on social media:

Fairfax Virtual Assistant