If You Are Sick

Page originally published 1/11/2024, last updated 3/12/2024.

Steps to Take When Sick with a Respiratory Virus

If you have, or are likely to have, a respiratory virus infection, like COVID-19flu, or RSV, take steps to protect yourself and others. If you have any emergency warning signs (like trouble breathing or chest pain) seek emergency care immediately. See COVID-19, flu, and RSV webpages for a list of emergency signs.

Please adhere to the following if you develop respiratory virus illness:

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  • Stay home and away from others (including people you live with who are not sick. 
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  • Monitor symptoms and follow healthcare provider instructions.
    • Rest, drink fluids, and use over-the-counter medicines for fever as needed.
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  • Go back to normal activities when:
    • You have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication) for at least 24 hours, and
    • Symptoms are getting better overall.

When going back to normal activities, take added steps for safety over the next 5 days:

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  • Wear a high-quality mask or respirator when around others, especially people at higher risk.
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  •  Practice good hygiene and cleaning.
    • Avoid sharing personal household items.
    • Wash your hands often.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes.
    • Clean frequently touched surfaces, such as countertops, handrails, and doorknobs regularly.
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  • Test and treat.  
    • Test for COVID-19 and flu. If you test positive, contact your healthcare provider and ask about medications.
    • Medications for COVID-19 and the flu work best when started right after symptoms begin.
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  • Stay up-to-date with recommended immunizations.

Workplace, Healthcare, School, and Childcare Settings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers guidance for different settings, including workplace, healthcare, school, and childcare settings.

Resources

  • CDC’s Respiratory Virus Guidance provides practical recommendations and information to help people lower health risks posed by a range of common respiratory viral illnesses, including COVID-19, flu, and RSV.
  • If You Are Sick With a Respiratory Viruses Quick Response (QR) Posters.
  • If you test positive and are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, treatments are available that can reduce your chances of being hospitalized or dying from the disease.
    • Home Test-to-Treat is a program that offers free tests and free treatment (if eligible) for COVID-19 and Flu at home 24/7. No insurance or appointments needed.
  • Many resources are available through 2-1-1 San Diego for people who have been affected by a COVID-19, including the County Emergency Rental and Utilities Assistance Program as well as other resources.

For more information, contact the Epidemiology Unit at (619) 692-8499 or send us an e-mail.