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How can I protect myself and others from respiratory virus infections?

As every year, the conditions in the cold season promote the transmission of respiratory pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, influenza viruses and RSV. Thus, the number of respiratory diseases increases in the course of autumn and winter.

Therefore, in the coming weeks and months:

  • Anyone with symptoms of an acute respiratory infection should stay at home for three to five days and until the symptoms have clearly improved.
  • During this time, direct contact with people, especially those at increased risk for a severe course of disease, should be avoided if possible.
  • If the symptoms worsen, do not improve, or if you belong to a risk group with a higher probability of a severe course of disease, you should consult your general practitioner.
  • At the doctor's office, a test for respiratory pathogens can be done after medical evaluation.
  • If rapid antigen tests are used at home, it should be noted that a negative test result does not necessarily exclude an infection.
    A positive result, however, gives a good indication for further action and should be considered accordingly depending on one's own state of health (belonging to a risk group) and contact with people of a risk group.
  • The probability of transmission of respiratory pathogens in closed rooms can be reduced by appropriate behaviour, including regular ventilation (‘shock ventilation’). People with acute respiratory symptoms should wear a mask for the protection of others. This is especially important if close contact with a person from a risk group cannot be avoided.
  • A correctly worn mouth-nose protection/medical face mask can be an additional protection against infection indoors in phases of strong virus circulation (flu wave, COVID-19 wave, RSV disease wave). In particular, people who belong to a risk group should consider this option for self-protection.
  • Important: Vaccinations against COVID-19, influenza and pneumococci should be up-to-date according to the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO).

Date: 26.10.2023