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Seasonal Respiratory Viruses

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Department of Health and Human Services

Seasonal Respiratory Viruses

It is common to get sick from respiratory viruses, especially during the fall and winter. There are actions you can take to protect yourself and others. Learn about COVID-19, flu and RSV, and how to prevent them and reduce your risk of getting seriously ill. 



is a disease caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2, and is very contagious. COVID-19 most often causes respiratory symptoms that can feel like a cold, flu or pneumonia. It can also attack other body parts outside of the lungs and respiratory symptoms. 
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Influenza (flu)

is a contagious respiratory illness typically in the nose, throat, and lungs caused by influenza viruses. It can result in mild to severe illness and sometimes death.

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Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, including runny nose, coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and fever. These symptoms usually appear in stages and not all at once. In very young infants with RSV, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and difficulty breathing.

For each of these viruses, your best protection is to be up to date on vaccines. If you do test positive or are diagnosed with the viruses, talk to your health care provider about the treatment options that are best for you.


Take every day preventative actions to stop the spread of germs.

Additional Prevention Strategies: