Blog Post

The RSV Immunity Gap

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.

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Blog Post

How The Avian Flu Is Affecting Your Turkey This Thanksgiving

By Laura Tran, C2ST Intern, Rush University

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…bird flu!

The last major avian flu (bird flu) outbreak in the United States occurred in 2014 and lasted until 2016. It circulated among wild birds during their migration and then spread to domestic poultry, which affected more than 50 million birds (mainly chickens and turkeys). It cost billions of dollars to cull infected poultry populations in order to control the spread of the virus.

While the worst of bird flu seemed to settle down, it never really went away.

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Blog Post

Revolutionizing Technology With Graphene

By Veronica Villanueva, C2ST Intern, Rush University

People will often call the end of a pencil the “lead tip,” but there is no lead in pencils. Pencils are filled with graphite, a crystalline form of carbon. Carbon is a fascinating element. It is found in many commonplace items like paper, food, and medicine. Even we are made of carbon. Carbon is essential. It creates extremely strong bonds and is tetravalent (it has 4 spare electrons to bind other elements) making carbon a perfect building block for our world. 

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