Delhi and a few other parts of India are under the grasp of the H3N2 virus which lasts for two to three months. The flu symptoms generally appear and abruptly increase. The H3N2 virus is evidently affecting vulnerable groups such as older adults and children.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has called Influenza, a subtype- H3N2 as the primary cause of inflating respiratory illness in India. Pertaining to the ICMR’s data, Pan respiratory virus surveillance has been established by ICMR/DHR across 30 Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDLs).
The surveillance data from December 15 to date illustrates the increase in the number of cases of influenza A H3N2. It is found that H3N2 has influenced about half of all inpatient severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and outpatient influenza-like illnesses. The H3N2 virus reportedly is causing more hospitalizations than other influenza subtypes.
What should you know about H3N2?
The influenza virus causes a respiratory ailment known as flu that affects the lungs particularly. The influenza virus is classified under 4 types: A, B, C, and D. Humans can contract influenza A, B, and C, out of which only influenza A and B are responsible for the annual seasonal outbreaks of respiratory disease.
Influenza A virus is further categorized into two subtypes based on two proteins found on its surface: hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). HA is segregated into 18 subtypes, which are labelled from H1 through H18. Similarly, there are 11 distinct NA subtypes, marked from N1 through N11. H1N1 (often known as swine flu) and H3N2 are two Influenza A subtypes that are quite popular cases of flu.
Symptoms of H3N2
It can be difficult to differentiate the flu, or influenza from a regular cold. Both are viral respiratory infections with many symptoms alike and are communicable too. Although cold symptoms are milder and resolve within 7-10 days, influenza symptoms are more severe and can bear dangerous consequences such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus or ear infections. Most individuals recuperate from the flu in less than two weeks. But doctors blame the changes in temperature and pollution for the influenza symptoms persisting for more than two weeks as witnessed.
Symptoms might include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Aches and pains in the body
Do’s and Don’ts
To avoid falling ill from seasonal flu viruses, ICMR has suggested the following measures:
- Avoid shaking hands with people and spitting in public.
- Hands should be washed often with water and soap especially after using bathroom and before eating.
- Avoid getting into contact with ill people.
If symptomatic, the following measures should be practiced.
- Avoid crowded places and wear masks.
- Cover mouth and nose while sneezing and coughing.
- Take plenty of fluids.
- Avoid touching your eyes and nose.
- Take paracetamol for fever and body aches.
Additionally, individuals can take the flu vaccination and it would be better to obtain it before the end of October. Since cold and flu are caused by viruses rather than bacteria, antibiotics are not an effective treatment. Drug-resistant ailments are tougher to treat and are caused by the abuse of antibiotics. Without any doctor’s supervision, therefore, people, in general, are cautioned not to consume antibiotics on fancy. As the temperature rises from March-end or April first week, the outbreak of infections caused by the virus subtype will likely reduce.