We’re heading into the fall and winter cold and flu season with four health threats to consider:
- The new crop of Covid-19 mutations — BQ1, BQ1.1, and BF7.(6)
- The annual flu virus. Currently there are three vaccines recommended for persons age 65 and older: Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccine, Flublok Quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine and Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine.(5)
- Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a single strand RNA virus that can cause lung issues. It’s usually mild and lasts up to a couple of weeks, but is more of a threat for infants and the elderly.(1)
- Airborne fungal spores, including Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, various basidiomycetes, and Alternaria. Among these, Aspergillus is known to colonize in the lungs and can put patient into intensive care. These spores are thought to peak in the summer but with warmer temperatures, can with being brought indoors though ventilation systems, can last well into the traditional flu season.(2,3,4)
Airborne fungi are known issues in California and Las Vegas, and are probably of concern throughout the US South and Southwest. Again, as warming temperatures prevail in other areas, it’s likely that the reach of these fungi will spread.
Currently, an estimated 8.4% of US adults and 5.8% of children are diagnosed with asthma. Based on personal experience (having allergy-induced asthma) my suspicion is that these percentages underestimate the actual incidence of this disease. All four of the threats listed above a potential problems for asthmatics of any age.
After all, breathing is a nice thing to be able to do. Most people only learn to appreciate it when they can’t.