Airborne Threats: Masking Isn’t Just about Covid

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.

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/index.html
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10661-018-7008-5
  3. https://simplyhealth.today/15-popular-symptoms-of-aspergillus/?utm_source=%2Baspergillus&utm_medium=15PopularSymptomsofAspergillus&utm_campaign=adw_us&msclkid=9af76ed656421ac02c170d8e4c86537f
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/aspergillosis/index.html
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2022-2023.htm
  6. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/why-omicron-subvariants-bq1-bq11-are-poised-to-take-over-in-the-us?rid=40F6968D95F9BCBACD72ADD9433713F9&cmpid=org%3Dngp%3A%3Amc%3Dcrm-email%3A%3Asrc%3Dngp%3A%3Acmp%3Deditorial%3A%3Aadd%3DHealth_20221023&loggedin=true&rnd=1666719835950
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3 comments

  1. As a lifelong asthmatic, I have to say that yes, breathing is a great thing and something we should never take for granted. Wearing a mask makes it even harder for me to breathe … BUT … I DO wear a mask anytime I am in a public venue. People look at me sometimes with disgust, but I am responsible for my health and the health of my family, so I continue to wear a mask and carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer in my pocket on those rare occasions I leave my house! If everybody did the same, we might have conquered Covid by now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The simple truth is that there are too many people on this planet and a number of factors are coming together to correct that. I’m just not in a hurry to be part of the correction, and don’t care what others think. That’s why my small retirement insurance business is entirely virtual.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s so true, Vic … too many people and diminishing resources such as water, food, etc. No, I’m in no hurry to do my part in reducing the population either, but I can think of a few whose demise would make the planet a bit better. You mention your business being virtual … I’ve read that a lot of companies whose staff worked from home during the pandemic have decided that’s a more efficient way to go and are not bringing people back into the office. I think that’s great for companies that can do it! My daughter is a nurse, making it impossible for her to work from home, but … touch wood … it’s a salute to her precautions that even working with the public throughout the worst of the pandemic, neither she, nor I, nor my granddaughter have caught Covid.

        Like

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