With winter approaching, public health officials are gearing up for another cold and flu season. Hygiene recommendations will be everywhere, as will the push to get this year’s influenza vaccine. In turn, many Canadians will attempt to avoid the viruses that cause those sniffles, coughs, and sneezes.
The number of viruses known to cause these illnesses is fairly large, with names such as rhinovirus, coronavirus, parainfluenzavirus, and adenovirus taking the lion’s share of blame for non-flu infections.
But another virus has lurked continuously in the background with very little attention given to it. It’s known as Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or as it is better known, RSV.
When RSV enters the respiratory tract, it heads straight into the nose and throat, where it can take hold and multiply. We suffer the sniffles and a cough as a result. But in some people, the virus can find its way into the lungs. When this happens, several critical cells in the lung are attacked, leading to a rather rapid and strong immune response.
The viral invasion starts a cellular war which usually ends up in a condition similar to pneumonia. The body needs the time to figure out how best to fight the virus and eventually win the battle. In the meantime, we can suffer for weeks. If the defense forces are compromised, the situation can become even worse, requiring hospitalization.
Despite the potential toll on the body, RSV has not been considered a significant threat for the majority of the population. The reason is quite simple. For the longest time, this virus was thought to attack only the very young, the very old, and those with weakened immune systems. Those who happen to fall in between these extremes generally have been considered to be safe from infection.
Yet over …read more
Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel