Respiratory infections: a jab against complacency

19.06.2024 Category: Flu Jabs Author: Dr Richard Dawood

I picked up Covid early in the pandemic and put my newly acquired immunity to good use by joining the Covid medical team at my local hospital for the weeks that followed. There was a side-effect however: a sense of invincibility that has perhaps made me take less care to protect myself from respiratory viruses ever since.

My luck ran out recently while looking after a group of patients with upper respiratory infections. Not all respiratory viruses are equal: we may call them “colds”, but some varieties are considerably more unpleasant than others.

Using PCR, we can now tell the difference between 22 different bugs with pinpoint accuracy, in about an hour. Mine turned out to be parainfluenza type 1 (there are four serotypes, who knew?) – a nasty virus, more common in the USA and among children.

My bout ranked alongside my experience with Covid: the symptoms lasted over three weeks and included a secondary lower respiratory infection requiring antibiotics to clear.

There’s no vaccine as yet against parainfluenza, but there are vaccines against other important respiratory infections – pneumococcal pneumonia, RSV, Covid-19, a newly-recommended adult top-up against whooping cough, and of course flu.

I shall be having all of these vaccines this winter and will take much greater care to protect myself when those around me have “colds”.

 

Arexvy: the new vaccination to protect against Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

23.11.2023 Category: General Health Author: Anna Chapman

RSV is a common and highly contagious respiratory virus that is a leading cause of lung disease. RSV is seasonal, and like other respiratory viruses, its peak incidence is during the winter months each year. It spreads from person to person via droplets, or from infected surfaces or objects. RSV is a virus, so antibiotics are not effective.

Arexvy is a new vaccination designed to protect against lower respiratory tract disease caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). It is an important advance, because no specific treatment for RSV is available, and infection is often severe.

Older adults, and those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and lung diseases such as asthma and COPD are at the greatest risk of the infection. RSV can exacerbate these underlying conditions and lead to pneumonia.

In the UK, RSV causes more hospitalisations and deaths than flu in those over the age of 60. It is estimated that RSV causes14,000 hospitalisations and an estimated 8,000 deaths in adults 60 years of age and older each year.

Arexvy is a recombinant adjuvanted vaccine for the prevention of RSV is adults 60 years of age and above. It is the only licensed vaccination in the UK that has been authorised for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, meaning at risk adults are now able to be vaccinated against the disease.

Arexvy is as in inactive vaccination and only requires single dose for protection. It can be administered at the same time as other vaccinations including flu, pneumococcal, and COVID.

We are among the first practices in the UK to offer it to adults needing protection.