H3N2 Influenza Outbreak: How to Stay Safe and Avoid Getting Sick
On March 3, 2023, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) sent out an advisory stating that the sudden increase in the number of patients displaying flu-like symptoms along with nausea and, in some cases, diarrhoea, could be due to Influenza A subtype H3N2 virus. It also advised medical experts to avoid suggesting rampant antibiotics and urged them to follow symptomatic treatments. So, if you are experiencing persistent cough or any other flu-like symptoms, it would be wise to consult a general physician at the earliest.
What is Influenza A Subtype H3N2?
Influenza A subtype H3N2 is a seasonal virus that causes respiratory illness. It was first detected in 1968 and has since evolved. There are four types of influenza virus, namely A, B, C and D. It is the A and B types that cause seasonal respiratory illnesses almost every year. The H3N2 virus usually preys on individuals below the age of 15 years or above 50 years of age. The infection usually lasts for 5-7 days, and the fever starts going away after 3 days. However, coughing can persist for up to 3 weeks.
Symptoms of Influenza A H3N2 Infection
The symptoms of Influenza A subtype H3N2 infection are similar to that of seasonal influenza or flu infection. Therefore, it becomes diﬃcult for medical practitioners to differentiate it from normal flu, based on just the physical symptoms. The symptoms include fever and chills, body aches and headaches, sore throat, runny or congested nose, cough, fatigue and tiredness, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhoea.
How to Prevent Influenza H3N2 Infection?
Self-hygiene is the best way to prevent any viral infection. Here are some steps you can take to keep yourself and your family safe from H3N2:
- Wash your hands before eating and before touching your face, nose or mouth.
- If you are travelling, keep your hands clean with sanitisers.
- Try to avoid crowded places.
- Wear masks in public places.
- Avoid coming in contact with people already infected with H3N2 or seasonal flu or influenza.
- Get the flu vaccine every year.
- Eat fruits and green leafy veggies to improve immunity.
Treatment for Influenza H3N2
The Indian Medical Association has advised people not to panic and avoid taking antibiotics like azithromycin and amoxicillin without consulting a doctor as this can result in antibiotic resistance. However, if anyone is infected with influenza H3N2, they can practise the below-mentioned steps to recover faster
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Take ample rest.
- Follow the doctor’s advice and medications to relieve symptoms.
- Consume home-cooked, low-spice and low-fat food.
- Avoid high-sugar or high-sodium food to prevent dehydration.
- Take steam to relieve chest congestion.
- Do warm saline gargling to relieve sore throat.
As we said before, the best way to recover faster is to avoid panicking and taking random medications. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, the first and the wisest thing to do is to consult a doctor immediately. With the right treatment and care, you can easily recover from Influenza A subtype H3N2. Stay safe, and stay healthy!
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