Preventing Respiratory Infections

Many of the viruses that cause respiratory infections do not have a specific treatment. What this means is that there are no medications you can take to rid yourself of the infection. Thus, the goal is to prevent respiratory infections from happening in the first place. These methods are effective for preventing respiratory infections.


One of the many ways we prevent respiratory infections is through vaccines. Vaccines give you immunity against the diseases viral and bacterial infections cause. Vaccines also limit the effect these infections have on your body, and in many cases, prevent life-threatening illnesses or death.

How Vaccines Work

Vaccines have different components. Some vaccines contain a living but weakened viral infection, while others have a dead virus. The goal of vaccines is simple: prevent you from getting an infection. Vaccines help your body develop the immune responses you need to fight off an infection. The immunity is what ultimately protects you against future infections and complications. Sometimes, to get the most protection, healthcare providers recommend booster shots. Booster shots are an extra dose of a vaccine and are an added layer of protection.

Infection Prevention

Vaccines are great at preventing respiratory infections. However, sometimes a vaccine alone is not enough. A solution is an approach that combines vaccines with other preventative measures, such as health and respiratory safety. These measures are simple ways to prevent respiratory infections.

Hand Washing

Proper hand hygiene is one of the most effective infection control measures you can take to prevent respiratory infections and certain illnesses. Handwashing reduces the number of infectious organisms on your surface (hands), thus limiting the spread of viruses and bacteria. You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to get rid of some of these germs. But remember, nothing replaces washing your hands with soap and warm water.


Mask-wearing is another measure of preventing respiratory infections. A mask or facial covering over your mouth and nose acts as a protective barrier against inhaling infectious airborne droplets and particles. A properly fitting mask does not restrict your breathing and is safe for even people with known respiratory conditions, like asthma

Respiratory Safety

Stop Smoking

Cigarette smoke is known to increase your risk for certain cancers and conditions, such as COPD and emphysema. Inhaled smoke also makes you more susceptible to infectious diseases. However, the risks are not only for active smokers; people exposed to secondhand smoke are also at risk.

Why this Happens

Cigarette smoke contains toxic chemicals that irritate and damage the tissues in your lungs. Inhaling the smoke makes your lungs swell, inflame, and produce lots of thick mucus. The swelling and inflammation make it hard for your airways and lungs to do their jobs. As a result, you become more vulnerable to bacterial and viral infections.