According to central government sources, H3N2, a subtype of the Influenza A virus, has claimed two lives in the country. While one person died in Haryana, another was killed in Karnataka. According to government sources, 90 cases of the flu caused by this virus have been reported across the country. H3N2 has been linked to a number of influenza outbreaks in the country in the past. The change in weather from extremely cold to warm influences the prevalence of flu symptoms among people.
What is H3N2 virus?
The respiratory infection is caused by an influenza virus. The virus is also capable of infecting birds and mammals. It has mutated into numerous strains in birds and other animals.
H3N2 is an influenza subtype. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization, a virus that is a major cause of human influenza (WHO).
What are the symptoms?
According to the World Health Organization, avian, swine, and other zoonotic influenza infections in humans can cause anything from a mild upper respiratory infection (fever and cough) to a rapid progression to severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, shock, and even death. The following are some of the most common H3N2 virus symptoms:
- Throat ache/sore throat
- An ache in muscles and body
- In some cases, diarrhoea
- Sneezing and runny nose
It is critical to see a doctor if a person has difficulty breathing, pain or discomfort in the chest, a persistent fever, or pain in the throat while gulping down food.
How does the virus spread?
The highly contagious H3N2 influenza can be passed from person to person via droplets released by an infected individual while coughing, sneezing, or talking. It can also spread if someone touches their mouth or nose after coming into contact with a virus-infected surface. Flu-related complications are more likely in pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and people with underlying medical conditions.
What are the precautions to be taken?
Because the virus attacks the respiratory tract, it is critical to:
- Continuously monitor the oxygen level using a pulse oximeter.
- A doctor’s visit is required if the oxygen saturation level is less than 95%.
- If the oxygen saturation level falls below 90%, intensive care may be required.
- In such cases, experts advise against self-medication.
What are the treatment options?
Rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce fever are all part of the H3N2 influenza treatment regimen. If a patient has severe symptoms or is at high risk of complications, a doctor may prescribe antiviral medications such as oseltamivir and zanamivir.
According to the WHO, neuraminidase inhibitors should be prescribed as soon as possible (ideally, within 48 hours of symptom onset) in suspected and confirmed cases to maximise therapeutic benefits.
Dos and Don’ts
Infected people can spread the virus quickly among humans. As a result, experts advise that the following protocols be strictly adhered to:
- Wash your hands with soap and water on a regular basis.
- Avoid crowded places and wear face masks.
- Keep your hands away from your nose and mouth.
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids.
- Take paracetamol if you have a fever and a headache.
They also recommend avoiding:
- Spitting in public areas
- Greetings based on physical contact, such as shaking hands
- Self-medication and the use of antibiotics or other medications without first consulting a doctor
- Eating while sitting next to others