Rhino-, adeno-, influenza…oh my!

A recent story run by CTV News was titled, "'It's very concerning': Cases of common childhood infection on the rise, leaving parents worried." It tells the story of a daughter battling a less-known infection known as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Children's Health | Cold and Flu | Immune Health


Dr. Owen Wiseman, ND


21 December 2022

Canadians Should Be Aware of RSV Season

As winter approaches in Canada, so does RSV season with the typical period lasting from November until April.

Symptoms include coughing and wheezing, which can make it hard to breathe. RSV can also cause fever, runny nose, and reduced appetite. Infants and young children with RSV may also have difficulty feeding and may even stop breathing for short periods of time. In severe cases, RSV can lead to pneumonia or bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lungs).

Each year, RSV causes thousands of hospitalizations and some deaths among children under the age of 5 in Canada.2 Accounting for 9% of all hospitalizations in infants, RSV can require a stay in intensive care and is sometimes fatal.3 

Studies have also linked RSV-associated hospitalizations before the age of two with an increase in wheezing during childhood.4,5,6 This is why it is important to nurture the immune systems of young kids. Adults over the age of 65 are also at risk for severe illness from RSV.

There is no specific cure for RSV, but treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and supporting the immune and respiratory systems.

A deeper dive into our systems...

The link between the respiratory and immune system is well established. 

The lungs are constantly exposed to potentially harmful airborne particles, making them susceptible to infection. Meanwhile, the immune system is responsible for recognizing and fighting off pathogens. Thus, the two systems work closely together to protect the body from illness:

  • The respiratory system filters out harmful particles and produces mucus, which traps bacteria and viruses. 
  • The immune system then detects these invaders and produces antibodies to destroy them.

This intricate dance is what has kept humans alive for millennia.

Tips for Preventing the Spread of RSV

RSV is typically spread through contact with respiratory secretions, such as saliva or mucus. It can also be spread through close contact with an infected person, such as hugging, kissing, or sharing cups or utensils. There is no vaccine for RSV, so one of the best ways to prevent its spread is through good hygiene practices:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you have been in close contact with someone who is sick. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean. 
  • If you are sick, stay home from work or school until you have been symptom-free for at least 24 hours. 
  • Finally, clean surfaces that are frequently touched, such as door handles and toys.

What about some herbal support?

Echinaforce is an herbal supplement that has been traditionally used to help protect against infections. Recent studies have shown that it can also help to protect against enveloped viruses, such as RSV, adenovirus, and rhinovirus.7,8,9 Echinaforce works by bolstering the response of white blood cells, which help to fight off infection.10 It also contains compounds that can directly inhibit the growth of viruses

In one study, people who took Echinaforce were found to have a significantly lower risk of developing viral respiratory infections. This helped to prevent the spread of the virus and reduced the severity of symptoms.11 As a result, Echinaforce may be an effective way to help protect against enveloped viruses such as RSV in the months ahead.

References

1. Constantine Petrou, M. D., Joan L. Robinson, and M. D. Nicole Le Saux. "Preventing Hospitalizations for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Infection/The authors respond." Paediatrics & Child Health 21.5 (2016): 258.

2. Wingert, Aireen, et al. "Burden of illness in infants and young children hospitalized for respiratory syncytial virus: A rapid review." Canada Communicable Disease Report 47.9 (2021): 381.

3. Nicholson, Karl G., et al. "Rates of hospitalisation for influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and human metapneumovirus among infants and young children." Vaccine 24.1 (2006): 102-108.

4. Driscoll, Amanda J., et al. "Does respiratory syncytial virus lower respiratory illness in early life cause recurrent wheeze of early childhood and asthma? Critical review of the evidence and guidance for future studies from a World Health Organization-sponsored meeting." Vaccine 38.11 (2020): 2435-2448.

5. Jalink, Matthew B., et al. "Severe respiratory syncytial virus infection in preterm infants and later onset of asthma." The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 38.11 (2019): 1121-1125.

6. Shi, Ting, et al. "Association between respiratory syncytial virus-associated acute lower respiratory infection in early life and recurrent wheeze and asthma in later childhood." The Journal of infectious diseases 222.Supplement_7 (2020): S628-S633.

7. Hudson, James, and Selvarani Vimalanathan. "Echinacea—A source of potent antivirals for respiratory virus infections." Pharmaceuticals 4.7 (2011): 1019-1031.

8. Schapowal, Andreas. "Efficacy and safety of Echinaforce® in respiratory tract infections." Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 163.3 (2013): 102-105.

9. Schapowal, Andreas. "The triple action of the herbal medicine Echinaforce® in the treatment of colds and flu-like infections." Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Ganzheitsmedizin/Swiss Journal of Integrative Medicine 23.1 (2011): 40-44.

10. Ritchie, M. R., et al. "Effects of Echinaforce® treatment on ex vivo-stimulated blood cells." Phytomedicine 18.10 (2011): 826-831.

11. Jawad, Moutaz, et al. "Safety and efficacy profile of Echinacea purpurea to prevent common cold episodes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial." Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012 (2012).

A.Vogel Echinaforce Junior Tabs - Immune System Support

Clinically shown to help prevent, shorten and relieve the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) such as the common cold and flu-like episodes. Supports the immune system.

  • Tablets made from fresh, organically grown echinacea, which is 10 times more effective compared to dried herb
  • Strengthens the immune system to protect against cold and flu viruses
  • Can be taken long term
  • Support the immune system in times of stress and lack of sleep.
  • Safe to take daily up to 4 months to prevent colds and flu including pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • Clinically proven
  • Sugar and gluten free
  • Cruelty-free

Learn more