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Originally Published by YahooNews

A common and sometimes dangerous respiratory germ might also raise the risk of asthma if encountered early in life, new research this month suggests. The study found that children were more likely to develop asthma if they caught a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection before the age of 1. The findings might highlight yet another benefit of effective vaccines and treatments for RSV that are expected to reach the public soon.

RSV is one of the most ubiquitous respiratory germs around, with most people expected to catch it by age 2. The infection usually causes mild cold symptoms, such as runny nose, coughs, and sneezing. But it has a higher risk of causing serious, even life-threatening, illness in the very young and old. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, RSV hospitalizes tens of thousands of Americans over the age of 65 and under the age of 5 every year.

For many years now, studies have suggested that severe RSV infections in childhood can raise people’s risk of asthma and allergies. But there’s still a lot we don’t understand about this connection, including the exact risk factors that might make children more susceptible to developing asthma following RSV infection. This new study, conducted by researchers in Tennessee, was designed to sniff out some of these factors.

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infection prevention