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H3N2 virus? Increasing cases of cough and fever in India.

India is currently struggling through a rough patch with rising cases of respiratory illnesses. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has cited Influenza A sub type H3N2 virus as the major reason behind the sudden rise in cases. So let's see what is it.

What is Influenza A sub type H3N2 virus?

H3N2 is a flu virus that has caused many outbreaks of seasonal flu since it was identified in 1968. A person can contact it from another by coughing, sneezing, or talking. H3N2 is a non-human influenza virus that normally circulates in pigs and has infected humans. H3N2 is a type of flu virus that can be transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets or contact with surfaces contaminated with the virus. It can mutate and change, making it difficult for the immune system to fight off infection.

What are symptoms of H3N2 flu virus?

The flu symptoms caused by H3N2 virus are similar to those caused by other seasonal influenza viruses. Symptoms typically appear suddenly and include:

  • Cough

  • Runny or congested nose

  • Sore throat

  • Headache

  • Body aches and pains

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Fatigue

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

Consult a doctor to address these symptoms.

What things I can do for prevention from H3N2 virus?

The most effective way to prevent H3N2 is similar to COVID-19 appropriate behavior. This include wearing masks, observing social distance, maintaining good hand hygiene, and drinking enough fluids.

There is a very small difference in symptoms between COVID-19 and Influenza A H3N2. Shaking hands or using other forms of contact to greet should be discouraged, the ICMR says. Instill the Indian way of greeting by saying "Namaste".

Flu vaccination is imperative because, while the flu is unpleasant for most people, it can be dangerous and even life-threatening for some people, particularly those with certain health conditions.

What you should not do is: Irresponsible use of antibiotics:

Indian Medical Association (IMA) said, people, take antibiotics like Azithromycin and Amoxiclav, etc, without caring about dosage, frequency and most important without a doctor prescription. They stop them once they start feeling better which leads to antibiotic resistance. This needs to be stopped as whenever there is a real need for antibiotics, they will not work due to resistance and doctor in a situation like this have to prescribe which are both stronger and expensive for the patient.

People need to avoid taking antibiotics on the advise of local pharmacy person and without consulting a doctor as it will only increase both medical problems and expense in future.

The most misused antibiotics are Amoxicillin, Norfloxacin, Oprofloxacin, Ofloxacin and Levofloxacin.

What to do if you catch flu?
  • Consult a doctor.

  • Stay at home and rest

  • Avoid close contact with well people in your house so you won’t make them sick.

  • Drink plenty of water and other clear liquids to prevent fluid loss (dehydration).

  • If you get very sick or are pregnant or have a medical condition that puts you at higher risk of flu complications (like asthma...), consult your doctor ASAP.

How to keep yourself and others protected during flu season:
  • Take time to get a shot of flu vaccine.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way faster in your body.

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people, wear mask while going in public places.

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