Influenza A virus infection causes substantial morbidity and mortality in seasonal epidemic outbreaks, and more efficient treatments are urgently needed. Innate immune sensing of viral nucleic acids stimulates antiviral immunity, including cell-autonomous antiviral defense mechanisms that restrict viral replication. RNA oligonucleotide ligands that potently activate the cytoplasmic helicase retinoic-acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) are promising candidates for the development of new antiviral therapies. Here, we demonstrate in an Mx1-expressing mouse model of influenza A virus infection that a single intravenous injection of low-dose RIG-I ligand 5'-triphosphate RNA (3pRNA) completely protected mice from a lethal challenge with influenza A virus for at least 7 days. Furthermore, systemic administration of 3pRNA rescued mice with pre-established fulminant influenza infection and prevented the fatal effects of a streptococcal superinfection. Type I interferon, but not interferon-λ, was required for the therapeutic effect. Our results suggest that the use of RIG-I activating oligonucleotide ligands has the clinical potential to confine influenza epidemics when a strain-specific vaccine is not yet available and to reduce lethality of influenza in severely infected patients.