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RESPIRATORy VIRUSES

Woman with cold blowing her nose

Respirator​y Viruses​

Many respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, circulate year-round in the United States and California. Some viruses are more active from October through March, such as influenza (flu)respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and many others.

Respiratory viruses can cause cold or flu-like symptoms. They can spread through the air by coughing or sneezing. You can also pick up the virus by touching contaminated items and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

These viruses can cause serious illness for some people. People who are at higher risk or around those who are higher risk should take extra precautions to stay healthy.

Get prevention strategies and information for common respiratory viruses.​ Already feeling sick? Visit the CDC page: Preventing Spread of Respiratory Viruses When You’re Sick.​​ 

SMARTER Steps ​to Prevent the Spread of Respiratory Viruses

California developed the SMARTER Plan to prepare Californians for COVID-19 surges and variants. We can apply these SMARTER steps to reduce the spread of all respiratory infections and protect our most vulnerable populations, our communities, and our state. ​​

SMARTER Steps for respiratory virus prevention

California's Respiratory Virus Dashboard​ 

The Respiratory Virus Dashboard tracks COVID-19 and flu when the infection rates are highest. The dashboard tracks positive test result percentages and death rates. These data help to track the spread of respiratory viruses in California and inform the efforts to slow their spread.

Our Actions Save Lives  

Californians can take simple actions to prevent respiratory viruses from spreading. Follow the SMARTER steps to lower your chances of catching a respiratory virus and getting very sick if you do. These actions also lower your chances of spreading the virus to others, including those at higher risk of severe illness.

Visit the Respiratory Virus Prevention Toolkit to learn more.​

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