RSV Awareness Month: 4 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself this Fall

Each year, it is estimated that up to 160,000 adults are hospitalized and as many as 10,000 of them die due to RSV in the United States. While most people only develop mild symptoms similar to that of a common cold, RSV can be severe and even life threatening for certain people at high risk. This October for RSV Awareness Month, the American Lung Association is launching a campaign to educate adults about the risk of RSV and steps they can take to protect themselves.

“This is the first RSV season where vaccination can help protect against RSV for adults 60 years of age and older,” said Dr. Leonard Friedland, Vice President, Director Scientific Affairs and Public Health GSK. “It is increasingly important that older adults have conversations with their healthcare providers about the risks of RSV infection this fall and winter.” 

Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, is a common and highly contagious respiratory illness. Many people think RSV only impacts infants and children; however, it can infect people of all ages. In fact, RSV is the most common cause of lower respiratory tract infections. RSV is spread from person to person through close contact with someone who is infected via secretions from coughing, sneezing or touching objects. The peak season for RSV infection in the United States typically starts in the fall and peaks in the winter.

“Last fall and winter, we saw a significant rise in RSV cases across the U.S. Thankfully, most people only develop mild symptoms with this disease, but RSV can be severe and even life threatening for certain adults at high risk, including older adults, especially those 60 years and older, adults with chronic heart or lung disease and adults with weakened immune systems,” said Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “This is why it is critical for people at high risk to know how to protect themselves from getting RSV.”

Here are four steps to take to help prevent the spread of RSV:

  1. If you are 60 or older, talk with your healthcare provider to see if RSV vaccination is right for you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend RSV vaccination to help prevent severe RSV illness after a patient and healthcare provider work together to come to a decision about whether vaccination is best for the patient.
  2. Avoid close contact with infected people.
  3. Wash your hands with soap and water after coming into contact with an infected person.
  4. Stay at home if you feel ill.

Support for this educational campaign is provided by GSK. For more information and to learn steps to prevent hospitalization, visit

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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