Respiratory Virus Guidance from Employee Health

by Theresa Aliemeke-Schwickerath, AG-ACNP BC, Employee Health Services Division, Department of Human Resources

Respiratory viruses, including the viruses responsible for influenza and COVID-19, cause millions of illnesses in the United States every year. While there are many types of viral respiratory illnesses, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself and others from increased risk and associated health complications.

Did you know that the CDC has recently updated its guidelines on respiratory illnesses? (While Henrico County does not currently have any required protocol, we recommend that employees follow the directions provided by medical professionals, their primary care physician, and the CDC.) A notable change is that you are now advised to stay home and isolate yourself from others until you are fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medications) for at least 24 hours and your symptoms have improved. After this time, you may return to work but should continue to take standard precautions such as social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing a mask if applicable for the next five days.

In all cases, preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses can be key. Core prevention strategies include proper hand hygiene, physical distancing, staying up to date on immunizations, prompt treatment, wearing a mask and staying home to prevent the spread.

It is important to stay informed and follow the recommended precautions to protect yourself and others. If you have any specific questions or need more information, feel free to call Employee Health Services at 804-501-1600.