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Steps for limiting the spread of respiratory infectious diseases

General notice

The isolation instructions related to COVID-19 have been adjusted. In case of symptoms, follow the instructions presented on this page to take care of yourself and others.

Viruses and respiratory infectious diseases are spreading widely. You can take certain steps to prevent transmission.

Monitor your symptoms

Monitor your health and the onset of symptoms of respiratory infectious diseases, such as fever, cough, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nasal discharge and nasal congestion.

If you have any of these symptoms, take steps to reduce the risk of infecting other people.

  • If you have a fever, stay at home.
  • If you have a cough, sore throat or nasal congestion, wear a mask.

For 10 days after the onset of symptoms:

  • Keep your distance from others as much as possible.
  • Avoid contact with vulnerable people, such as the elderly, the immunocompromised and people with health problems.
  • Choose remote activities, such as telework.
  • Avoid non-essential social events.
  • Tell the people you are in contact with that you might be contagious.

Perform a COVID-19 rapid test as soon as symptoms appear to find out if you have a COVID-19 infection.

If you have to go to work, school or daycare, notify the head of the establishment that you have symptoms of a respiratory infectious disease and follow the measures in force in the establishment.

Protect the most vulnerable

If you are sick or have symptoms, avoid contact with other people, particularly the most vulnerable, such as the elderly, the immunocompromised and people with chronic diseases.

Get vaccinated

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others. When you are vaccinated against an infectious disease, your body prepares its defences against the virus.

Vaccinations against COVID-19, influenza and pneumococcal infections are available.

See the Vaccination page to find out more.

Cover your face

Wearing a mask or a face covering reduces the risk of transmission of several infectious respiratory diseases. If you have a cough, sore throat or nasal congestion, you must wear a mask during any social interaction.

The following individuals are recommended to wear a mask:

  • People who have symptoms of a respiratory infectious disease (cough, sore throat or nasal congestion)
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People who have a health condition that makes them vulnerable
  • People aged 60 and over
  • Pregnant women
  • In the presence of vulnerable people due to their health or age (over 60 years old)
  • In the presence of a baby under 3 months, except for the immediate family
  • In busy places (except schools and daycares)

Wearing a mask may be required in certain facilities where medical care is provided.

Cough into your elbow

When you cough or sneeze:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a paper tissue or your arm to reduce the spread of germs.
  • If you use a paper tissue, throw it out as soon as possible and wash your hands afterward.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Disinfect your hands with an alcohol-based solution if you do not have access to soap and water.

Consult the hand washing techniques as needed.

Keep your distance

Maintain a distance from other people who don’t live in your household. If you can’t keep your distance, wear a mask or a face covering.

Avoid direct contact for greetings, such as handshakes, and opt for alternative practises.

Apply recognized hygiene measures

Get in the habit of regularly cleaning your environment and the sanitary appliances that you use. For example, clean your counters and other frequently touched surfaces. Also, clean toilets and sinks to keep them clean.

Cleaning is very effective in eliminating the virus, which can survive on hard surfaces. You can clean these surfaces using soap and water or household detergents.

Ventilate your home well

During gatherings, regularly open the doors and windows to create a current of fresh air. Even if it is cold or humid outside, opening a window for just a few minutes at a time will help.

Special situations

In some situations, it is hard to follow the recommendations. Read on to find out how to adapt these recommendations to protect your health and the health of others.

Providing essential support to a vulnerable person when you or the vulnerable person have symptoms

When you need to provide essential support to a vulnerable person and you or the vulnerable person has symptoms:

  • Continue to provide support, while making sure to ventilate the rooms you are working in.
  • Be very vigilant about wearing a mask and be sure to keep a good distance from the person you are supporting, whenever possible.
  • Ask the person you are supporting to wear a mask in your presence.
  • Limit the time you spend with the vulnerable person.
  • Wash your hands frequently.

How to care for a child under the age of 5 who has symptoms

To take care of a child under the age of 5 who has symptoms:

  • Wear a mask while you take care of the child.
  • Wash your hands frequently.

If you are the parent of a baby under 3 months old

Young babies are particularly at risk for certain infectious respiratory diseases. To protect your baby under 3 months of age from viruses that cause these diseases:

  • Stay home and limit visitors.
  • Avoid non-essential activities and social interactions.
  • Ask people around your baby to wash their hands and wear a mask.

When wearing a mask is not possible

In every case, avoid all contact with vulnerable people if you have symptoms and cannot wear a mask.

Last update: April 6, 2023


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