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SARS-CoV-2 is a so-called respiratory-transmissible virus. It easily spreads from contagious people to other people’s respiratory mucosa when exhaling, speaking or singing. This type of virus also includes flu viruses and other cold viruses. Respiratory-transmissible viruses lead to many millions of cases of diseases every year and spread more easily in autumn and winter: Life increasingly takes place indoors, the warm heating air dries out the respiratory mucosa and the immune system may not be as fit as in summer.

However, there are effective ways to prevent the spread of these infections and thus a variety of diseases. By following simple tips, everyone can contribute a lot to protecting their family, friends and colleagues through responsible behavior. 
The good thing about it: With the same means, you not only protect yourself from COVID-19, but also from circulating flu viruses.



If you have cold symptoms*, you should stay at home, avoid contacts and heal up to a significant improvement in symptoms (3-5 days) - even with a negative COVID-19 test.
A test makes sense even if you have been vaccinated or recovered. In the case of complications, a PCR test can be important under insurance law to prove that you have undergone a SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Employers should encourage their employees to stay at home in case of symptoms and illness. This makes it less likely to infect others and supports a quick recovery.

* Symptoms include: runny nose, sore throat, headache, cough, elevated temperature or fever, shortness of breath, general weakness. 

Attention: Even if you have very mild symptoms, you can still be infected and infect others!



While an infection, the acute course of the disease should be observed well. For this purpose, you should keep an eye on temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen content in the blood.
It is also very important to rest, follow a good diet and refrain from exercise and other physical exertion for the next few weeks. Good oral hygiene can help keep the viral load low.

If the symptoms become more severe, you should contact the family doctor’s office or, at closing times, the local emergency service.

Attention: People with an increased risk of a severe acute course of the disease should discuss the use of antiviral drugs with their general practitioner as soon as possible (this applies to both COVID-19 and flu).



The risk of infection is minimized if you regularly cross ventilate interiors where you are with others (for example, every half an hour). This applies to all interiors (e.g. in waiting rooms, in school rooms, at work or at private meetings at home).
Rule of thumb: The more people in the room, the more often you should ventilate. The most effective is cross ventilation (opposite windows are opened simultaneously).
CO2 sensors help to ventilate sufficiently often. Especially in rooms with many people, if it is not possible to ventilate crosswise or if CO2 values are too high, the use of an air purifier or air filter should also be considered. 

Attention: Permanently tilted windows bring little, because they do not provide a lot of air exchange.



Wearing a mask is a simple and well-proven way to protect yourself and others from infection, especially if:

– You have contact with people from risk groups or you yourself belong to a risk group
– Many people are in the same room

– You spend a long time in the rooms
– A sufficiently ventilation is not possible
– You can keep little distance from others (e.g. in cinemas, concerts, schools and lectures, in shopping centers, in waiting rooms, in public transport such as trains and buses, or in recreation and break rooms at work).

This applies to both COVID-19 and flu and regardless of the vaccination status. It is important that everyone participates!

Attention: The mask must be worn correctly, the mouth and nose must be completely covered. Make sure the mask is tight and without gaps and then press the nose clip firmly.



Older people and people with certain pre-existing diseases (e.g. diabetes, obesity, disorders of the immune system) have an increased risk of severe acute disease progression in infectious diseases. In case of an acute infectious disease, the best way to protect your environment is to avoid personal contact until you recovered.
In addition to the described behavioral tips, you can also protect people in your own environment by offering support, for example, in arranging vaccination appointments or attending doctor’s visits.

Important for both COVID-19 and flu: Wait until the symptoms have subsided to avoid infections!
In the case of COVID-19, an antigen test can also be useful to check whether the infection has already subsided.



The best way to prevent severe acute disease progression is vaccination (available from your family doctor’s office, at a pharmacy or vaccination center). This applies to both COVID-19 and flu. 
Even if a COVID-19 disease has already been experienced, according to the Federal Commission for Vaccination (EKIF), for professional or private reasons you can get vaccinated 4 months after a known infection with the coronavirus. 
The respective recommendations for the refresher injections must also be observed.

Attention: To what extent a complete vaccination also provides protection against long-term health consequences (Long COVID and other long-term health consequences) is unclear at this time. In any case, the protection does not seem to be above 50%. Therefore, it is important that you continue to protect yourself with the other tips even after vaccination.

General information on COVID-19 vaccination

General information on influenza vaccination



Even if SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted via the air, it still makes sense - especially in winter and with many different viruses that are in circulation - to pay attention to good hand hygiene.
You should wash your hands regularly with soap or, where not possible, use disinfectant.

In addition, it can be useful to keep distance from other people indoors whenever possible.



If the symptoms persist for more than four weeks after a COVID-19-infection or if new symptoms occur, you should contact your family doctor. In some cases, the symptoms can be relieved.
As an employer or colleague, you should be aware that COVID-19 symptoms can persist even after the acute illness.

Attention: Even young, healthy people with mild or asymptomatic acute course can suffer from long-term health consequences! 
In Switzerland alone, several hundred thousand people are affected by Long COVID.