Could this scary bug arrive in YOUR town?
My hat is always off to our brave men and women in uniform.
Every day, the members of our military face grave dangers over land... air... and sea.
But one of those dangers can rear its head BEFORE they even leave basic training.
I'm talking about a nasty strain of a flu-like virus called human adenovirus type 4 (HAdV-4).
It can cause acute respiratory disease (ARD) and even damage your eyes -- and it's usually found exclusively in isolated military settings like training camps.
But according to a new study, you don't have to be a soldier in order to catch HAdV-4 -- because in recent years, cases of the virus have shown up in CIVILIANS.
And they've all been right here in the Northeast!
In the study, published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers identified HdV-4 among both young adults and older folks in Connecticut, New York, and even my home city of Boston, Massachusetts.
It turned out that most of those infected with HdV-4 had the SAME strains of the virus commonly found among military recruits, so they could have acquired it from contact with armed forces personnel.
But the researchers also identified NEW strains among some college kids in upstate New York -- which means that the virus may have been circulating at low levels among civilians for years.
In fact, the researchers wagered that HAdV-4 may be an underestimated cause of severe respiratory illnesses like ARD among the general population.
Now, if you're not familiar with ARD, you should know that it can literally take your breath away.
It happens when the tiny sacs in your lungs fill with FLUID instead of air -- which means you can't take in enough precious oxygen.
Your breathing becomes labored... your organs can't get the oxygen fix they need to function... and your brain can't fire on all cylinders.
And many of the folks who develop ARD become casualties of this killer!
Now, there IS a vaccine for HAdV-4, but here's the catch: The vaccine has been exclusively licensed for military use.
And even though all new military recruits since 2011 have been required to get the vaccine, that clearly hasn't wiped out the virus entirely.
So, you want to use all of the natural stuff in your "arsenal" to avoid catching this rare (but deadly) bug.
Luckily, the same precautions that armor you against seasonal flu viruses can also help defend against HAdV-4.
- Up your vitamins: Taking about 4,000 IUs of vitamin D and at least 3 grams of vitamin C daily can help you ward off viruses.
- Strengthen your immunity: Getting enough sleep, reducing stress, exercising, and taking probiotics can all fortify your immune system.
- Wash up: Washing your hands regularly with soap and warm water will make it less likely that flu germs will hitch a ride.