Everyone has a role to play to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses (such as COVID-19, RSV and the flu). The actions you take will protect you, loved ones and those most vulnerable in our community.
We can layer our protection against respiratory viruses with some simple steps. These steps work better when used together:
Learn more on how you can reduce virus spread when visiting all health care settings.
Respiratory viruses are spread by:
Using layers of protection can prevent the spread of respiratory viruses and help keep everyone safe.
When people gather together indoors respiratory infections, such as COVID-19 and the flu, can spread more easily. There are a number of things you can do to improve indoor air quality and help reduce the spread of viruses.
Try the CDC’s interactive home ventilation tool to see how respiratory particles in the air change with different ventilation settings in your home.
Respiratory viruses are spread mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets that can travel up to two metres. Keeping a physical distance from others, where possible, is an extra measure that can be taken to reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses, especially for those at greater risk of serious illness.
Here are some ways to practice physical distancing:
Connect with others online, by phone or outdoors.
It is recommended to consider wearing a well-fitting, high quality mask in crowded indoor public settings with poor ventilation, especially if you or people around you are at higher risk of getting very sick from a respiratory virus.
Masking continues to be an important layer of protection to keep you, your loved ones, and the most vulnerable in our community safe. Wearing a mask, in addition to physical distancing, reducing your contacts, getting vaccinated and other public health measures, can reduce the spread of these viruses and is an important measure we can use to protect ourselves and one another.
Masks can be considered in certain settings, including:
Masks may still be expected or required in certain situations or settings, including:
Check with individual organizations to learn more about their specific policies.
A medical mask, respirator or properly fitted 3-layer cloth mask is recommended for anyone who:
Some people who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing may remove their mask, or may ask others to remove their mask, because they rely on facial movements and/or lip-reading to communicate. See the below tips for communicating with people who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing:
Visit the Government of Canada website for information about mask use.
Learn more about practising good hand hygiene.
Most regular household cleaners are effective against respiratory viruses. If surfaces are visibly dirty, first use a cleaner, such as soap and water, then apply a disinfectant to kill the germs and viruses that remain. Leave the disinfecting solution to dry for it to work. You can choose a product that cleans and disinfects. Read the label to find a product that does both. Always follow the product instructions.
Clean and disinfect high- touch surfaces such as door handles, countertops, tables, light switches, faucets, sinks, toilets, etc. to reduce the spread of germs and viruses.
Electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, keyboards and remote controls are the most forgotten surfaces. Use disinfectant wipes that are appropriate for electronics. If there is no manufacturer instructions, use 70 per cent alcohol-based wipes.
For soft surfaces such as clothing and drapes, launder according to the label. It is safe to wash laundry from a person who is sick with other items. Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate temperature setting. Dry items completely in the dryer, if possible.
Caution: Always read the label and follow product instructions. Use a product approved in Canada (look for a DIN number). Do not mix chemicals. Wear protective gloves/eyewear and open windows for good ventilation. Never use products on your skin or food, as this can cause serious harm. Store chemicals out of reach of children and pets.
For more information, visit Public Health Ontario: Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings.