By Veronica Villanueva, C2ST Intern, Rush University
It’s that time of the year again–time for warm tea, cozy sweaters, and runny noses.
Autumn is “cold and flu season” due to several factors including: reduced immune function due to cold weather, increased allergies making you more susceptible to viruses, and close proximity to people increasing viral spread. This is why the CDC recommends getting your flu vaccine in early fall (September/October) allowing you to maintain immunity through the cold months.
While we have a yearly vaccine for the flu, there are several other viruses that are common during this time of year. A virus wreaking havoc this year is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV is a respiratory virus that causes cold-like symptoms including a runny nose, fever, coughing, sneezing, and wheezing. It is very common (around 2 million cases a year) and people usually recover within a week thinking they just had a cold.
For some people, especially infants and young children, it can cause bronchitis or pneumonia, leading to hospitalization.