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Avoiding Fall Respiratory Viruses: Your Vaccine 411

Avoiding Fall Respiratory Viruses: Your Vaccine 411
Kevin Cleary

This Article Includes

  1. "Understanding Fall Respiratory Viruses"
  2. "Available Vaccines This Fall"
  3. "Benefits of COVID-19 Vaccines"
  4. "Benefits of Influenza Vaccines"
  5. "Benefits of RSV Vaccines"
  6. "Products That May Help Fall Allergies"

It’s that time of year again…Autumn. The leaves turn color, there’s a crispness in the air, and we tend to spend more time indoors around each other. This can lead to the spreading of all sorts of nasty viruses. Influenza, Covid-19 (yes, that’s still around), and RSV love this time of year. They can be easily spread from person to person and make life miserable, if not downright dangerous. Besides sitting in quarantine or going through autumn in a hazmat suit, how do we do our best to avoid these fall respiratory viruses?

Vaccines are used to prevent viral infection and prevent respiratory illness, and HPFY can give you some information you need to make an educated decision.

Fall Respiratory Viruses

Autumn can be a wonderful time of the year with cooler weather and less humidity, not to mention nature’s colors. The one downside is the increase in exposure to respiratory illnesses. So how do you prevent respiratory infection and stay healthy? Fortunately, vaccines can be used to prevent lung infection and minimize respiratory infection symptoms in adults. Also, they can help avoid respiratory illness in children. The three main respiratory viruses that show up in fall include:

1. Influenza

Commonly known as the flu, influenza is a respiratory illness that infects the respiratory tract. Unfortunately, it is very common, with over 3 million cases per year in the US, and is transmitted through airborne exposure. Symptoms of the flu can last up to a week and include:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Body aches/pain
  • Chills
  • Cough

2. Covid-19

I’m pretty sure you need no introduction to Covid-19. In 2020-2021, over 1.1 million Americans died from this respiratory virus. Globally, almost 7 million people died from Covid-19, mostly before widespread distribution of vaccines became available. According to the CDC, Covid-19 respiratory symptoms are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Net loss of taste/smell
  • Fatigue

3. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

This is an infection of the respiratory tract caused by the respiratory syncytial virus and commonly affects children under the age of two but can also be contracted by adults. It is highly contagious and requires lab testing for identification. It can be similar to mild flu-like symptoms and last several days or weeks and include:

  • Mild cough
  • Fever (mild)
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy/runny nose

Often symptoms of RSV can depend on the severity, age, and health of the infected person. In children and the immunocompromised, severe symptoms can be:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Skin discoloration
  • Severe cough
  • Rapid breathing

Available Vaccines This Fall

Fortunately, vaccines for respiratory diseases can head off the worst of these respiratory viruses, but the question remains: how to prevent respiratory infection? In case you were wondering, the answer may be respiratory vaccines!! In today’s age of instant information on the Internet, there are so many overwhelming social media opinions about vaccines.

Be smart, and don’t base your decision on some Facebook post. Check with your trusted doctor or pediatrician. They can give you the actual facts about these vaccines for your lungs. The CDC points to vaccines and these steps you can take to prevent respiratory infection:

  • Maintain hand hygiene
  • Clean/disinfect
  • Physical distancing
  • Get vaccinated
  • Ensure proper HVAC maintenance

Benefits of COVID-19 Vaccines

Recent statistics from the CDC show that from August 6- August 12, 2023, there was a 21.6% increase in hospitalizations due to Covid-19 and an increase of 8.3% in deaths during the same period. Covid-19 vaccines have been shown to reduce severe symptoms, and hospital stays that can lead to death. As with other vaccines, effectiveness wanes over time, so boosters are recommended by the CDC.

Benefits of Influenza Vaccines

The CDC estimates that between 70%-85% of seasonal flu-related deaths and 50%-70% of influenza hospitalizations occur in those over 65 years of age. The CDC reported in 2019-2020 (the last flu season before the pandemic), the flu vaccine prevented approximately 7.5 million illnesses and 6,300 deaths. This vaccine is recommended for children 6 months or older and adults 65 or older. Two options are available:

  • Injectable: One option includes inactivated influenza virus and another without influenza virus.
  • Nasal Spray: Contains live attenuated influenza virus.

Benefits of RSV Vaccines

The FDA recently approved vaccines for RSV and recommended them for small children developing immune systems and the elderly. While this virus can attack anyone of any age, the high-risk groups include infants and older adults with chronic medical conditions. The CDC recommends those 60 years old or older receive a single dose of RSV vaccine. Newborns and babies under 1 year old and children up to 24 months who are at risk of RSV may receive the RSV vaccination.

Being proactive and receiving your annual flu, Covid-19, and RSV vaccinations can be the best way to avoid severe illness to you or your loved ones. Especially if you are immunocompromised or in contact with small children. A simple flu vaccination can lower your risk of illness by 40%-60%.

The CDC also has data that shows that emergency department visits for respiratory illnesses increase beginning in October and peaking during December. Talk with your healthcare provider to get the honest facts about respiratory vaccines and be proactive in preventing autumn-winter respiratory illness.

Products That May Help Fall Allergies




Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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