Make choices that protect your health so you can better enjoy life!

Taking these steps will help you avoid getting and spreading many respiratory illnesses (those affecting the lungs and breathing):

Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.

When a sick person touches a surface, their germs can transfer to the surface and then to you. Washing your hands prevents germs from infecting you when you eat or touch your face.

Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow.

It’s important to cover coughs and sneezes to keep your germs from infecting others. It’s better to cover with your elbow, rather than your hand, to avoid spreading germs when you touch things.

Stay home when you’re sick.

Avoid spreading your germs and infecting others. Stay home when you’re not feeling well and keep sick children home from school and other activities.

Get vaccinated when possible.

We have effective vaccines for several respiratory diseases. Getting vaccinated may prevent you from getting sick.

What are some common respiratory diseases?

The following diseases can spread from person to person and cause serious illness, leading to hospitalization. By following the 3 steps above, you can protect yourself and limit the spread.

Flu (Influenza)

What is it: Flu is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

Symptoms: Fever, cough. sore throat. runny or stuffy nose. muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue

Treatments: For those at high risk of severe complications from flu, antiviral drugs may be a treatment option.

Prevention: Annual flu vaccine, hand washing, wearing a mask in high transmission locations.

Learn more about the Flu.


What is it: COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus. Most individuals show mild to severe symptoms; for others, symptoms can be very severe (the elderly and those with compromised immune systems), leading to hospitalization and even death.

Symptoms: Fever or chills, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell

Treatments: Serious cases may require hospitalization for supplemental oxygen or a ventilator. Treatments approved under Emergency Use Authorization are available, including antiviral and monoclonal antibody treatments.

Prevention: COVID-19 vaccine and boosters, avoiding contact with people who are infected, hand washing, wearing a mask in high transmission locations.

Learn more about COVID-19.

Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

What is it: Whooping cough is a disease caused by the bacteria, Bordetella pertussis. The bacteria attach to little hairs, cilia, in the respiratory system, and they release toxins that damage the cilia and cause airways to swell.

Symptoms: Runny nose, low-grade fever, mild cough that later turns into a violent cough, a pause in breathing

Treatments: Antibiotics

Prevention: DTap vaccine and booster, avoiding contact with people who are infected, hand washing

Learn more about Whooping Cough.

RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection)

What is it: RSV is an infection of the lungs. Babies and older adults are at highest risk for developing severe complications from RSV. While not common, the disease can be fatal. This is she yeah I'm sorry Time I'm sorry you know what

Symptoms: Runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever, wheezing

Treatments: There are no specific treatments. In severe cases, supplemental oxygen or intubation with mechanical ventilation may be required.

Prevention: Avoid people with cold-like symptoms.

Learn more about RSV.


What is it: Pneumococcal pneumonia is any infection caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus. It can be very serious, causing an estimated 150,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States.

Symptoms: Fever or chills, cough, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, chest pain

Treatments: Antibiotics

Prevention: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) or Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23). Four doses of PCV13 are recommended for children at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 12-15 months. PPSV23 is recommended for all adults 65 years or older, people 2 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions, and adults 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes.

Learn more about Pneumonia.

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