H3N2 flu: H3N2 flu cases are on the rise in the country. At risk especially are small children and the elderly with many of them needing hospitalization. Two people have already died of H3N2, which is a subtype of Influenza A virus.
There are two flu viruses, Influenza A and B, that cause seasonal outbreaks in people. Currently circulating are the influenza A subtypes H1N1 and H3N2 . H3N2 is the dominant strain and is associated with more flu cases in India.
This has sent alarm bells ringing as Influenza A viruses can lead to flu pandemics, and because its symptoms are similar to those of Covid-19.
Symptoms and treatment
The common symptoms of H3N2 infection are fever, cough, breathlessness and wheezing, while pneumonia and seizures are rare symptoms.
H3N2 flu can be treated through antiviral medications. The patient must start the medicine within two days of the onset of symptoms, experts say. Antiviral medicines can help reduce the severity and duration of symptoms when taken within the first 48 hours of illness.
The patient should get adequate rest and hydration. The elderly and children, who are at higher risk of H3N2 infection than others, may need to be hospitalised.
In serious case, patients could be treated with steroids.
Prevention is the best cure
H3N2 infection can be prevented by wearing masks, avoiding crowded places, covering mouth and nose while sneezing and coughing. Also avoid touching eyes and nose, especially after touching an external surface. Drink plenty of fluids and take paracetamol for fever and body ache.
Also, people should avoid physical contact like shaking hands and must not spit in public. Most important, do not take antibiotics or other medicines without consulting a doctor.
Flu vaccine is advisable
Experts say vaccination is the most effective way to prevent seasonal influenza infection.
Annual flu vaccine, good hand hygiene, and avoiding close contact with sick individuals and wearing masks can reduce the spread of H3N2.
While flu-related illnesses are most common, H3N2 virus can also cause problems such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear infections, and aggravate pre-existing illnesses such as asthma and heart disease.
The virus mutates more quickly, vaccines find it difficult to keep up. This is what makes H3N2 more deadly than other influenza strains. Therefore, flu vaccines may be less effective against H3N2.
Disclaimer: This material, including advice, provides general information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Take the methods, and claims mentioned in this article as suggestions only; DNP India does not confirm or refute them. Consult a doctor before implementing any such suggestions/ treatment/medicine/diet.
Also Read: Ananya Panday shines in silver lehenga with mother Bhavana Panday and father Chunky Panday; watch video
For all the news updates subscribe to our YouTube channel ‘DNP India’. You can also follow us on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, and TWITTER.