After a long battle with coronavirus, India is yet again reeling against another flu virus. As per the latest media reports, there is a rapid upsurge in flu cases in the country due to the virus H3N2. Two people – an 82-year-old man in Karnataka, followed by one person in Haryana – have reportedly died of influenza caused by the H3N2 virus.
So far, the country has reported two deaths due to the virus H3N2, a subtype of Influenza A virus. However, 90 cases of the H3N2 virus have been reported in the country, and more flu cases other than H3N2 have been recorded. Not just this virus, other types of influenza virus have been circulating in the country, including the H1N1 virus.
Over 150 cases have been reported of acute upper respiratory tract infections, and 53 percent of these infections have been due to the H3N2 virus. Your best strategy is to stay vigilant and take proper precautions to avoid getting infected.
Symptoms of the H2N3 virus
Dr Neha Rastogi Panda, Consultant – Infectious Disease, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, shares that the H3N2 virus is the most prevalent and circulating at a rapid rate. “As per US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, mild to moderate cases of the virus have been observed. Out of these, 63-75 percent of the cases have shown a variable range of symptoms and severity. People affected by the virus have been reporting symptoms like fever, lingering and prolonged cough, and wheezing. 8-10 percent of the patients infected require hospitalisation.”
The infection can lead to body aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, cough and other respiratory and non-respiratory symptoms. Antiviral medications used to treat influenza virus is very effective against the virus.The All-India Medical Association has currently directed all Indian doctors to prescribe oseltamivir and zanamivir. It is preferable to treat a patient infected with the H3N2 virus as soon as possible,” adds Professor Dr SK Chhabra, Head of Department – Pulmonary, Primus Hospital, New Delhi.
Diagnosis is quite easy and reliable and requires a simple nasal swab test for the Influenza virus. Antivirals work well for moderate to severe cases. It might even work for patients with diabetes, old age, and compromised immunity, Dr Panda.
Precautions you should take
Doctors and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines suggest Covid-like precautions to avoid the spread of the H3N2 virus. Here are the precautions you should take!
- Wash and clean your hands frequently to avoid contracting the virus. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Use a handkerchief, tissue or your elbow to cover your mouth and nose every time you sneeze.
- Avoid touching your face, including your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean the surfaces clean to avoid picking up the virus from it and spreading it.
- Avoid crowded places where there is a high risk of being exposed to the flu.
- Pregnant women, children, and people with an underlying disease should be more careful of the virus.
- Do not self-medicate, and only take antibiotics recommended by a doctor.
- Avoid shaking hands or any other type of contact greeting.
- Do not spit in public.
- Don’t sit close to others while eating.
- Drink a lot of fluids.
- Don’t forget to wear a mask, especially in crowded places.