Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) is a virus that causes an upper respiratory infection. While most people have probably never heard of it, HMPV can have significant consequences, especially for young children or aging adults.

HMPV can cause a range of symptoms, from mild respiratory symptoms similar to common colds to severe bronchiolitis and pneumonia. Like influenza viruses, HMPV spreads maily during the winter months, and outbreaks commonly happen in schools, daycares, and nursing homes.

Symptoms of HMPV typically develop over several days and include cough, runny nose, sore throat, and fever. Some people may also experience shortness of breath or wheezing, especially if they have underlying respiratory conditions. In severe cases, HMPV can lead to hospitalization, especially in infants, older adults, or those with chronic medical conditions.

Diagnosing HMPV requires a test for respiratory viruses, which can be done at a doctor's office or hospital. Treatment is similar to other respiratory infections, such as getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids, taking over-the-counter pain relief medication for fever and body aches, and using a humidifier to ease congestion.

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