H3N2: Symptoms and Prevention

H3N2: Symptoms and Prevention

H3N2, a new type of virus is spreading in India. Here we will see the different symptoms and prevention options to reduce the chance of catching an infection and hospitalization.

H3N2 is a subtype of the influenza A virus and can cause respiratory issues in humans. This subtype is said to cause more hospitalization than other strains of the influenza virus. Most people infected with the H3N2 virus experience fever lasting for 3-5 days and a prolonged cough lasting for a few weeks.

Who is at risk?

The H3N2 virus can affect any age group. Most people may experience mild symptoms such as fever, cough and cold. The symptoms, especially the cough, may last for a longer period than usual, say 3 weeks, but is not severe. Some people who have low immunity, such as children and people with comorbid conditions, such as the elderly, may experience severe symptoms and may require hospitalization.      

What are the symptoms of the H3N2 virus?

The symptoms of this subtype of influenza virus, H3N2, can cause symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The symptoms of H3N2 can vary from person to person.

The most common symptoms of the H3N2 virus include-

  • Fever that lasts for 3-5 days
  • Prolonged cough, lasting for 3 weeks
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain

These symptoms may resolve in a few days or weeks and are considered mild. You can take over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to reduce these symptoms, or your doctor may prescribe some OTC medicines that are best for you based on your age and condition.  

Severe symptoms may include-

  • Very high fever
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Face or lips turning blue due to lack of oxygen
  • Fast breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Confusion

These symptoms are generally considered severe and may require hospitalization. Hence, it is always better to talk to a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

What are the preventive measures?

  • Wear a mask whenever you are going out.
  • Stay indoors.
  • Avoid getting in close contact with people having fever, cough, cold or any of the symptoms mentioned above.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before eating or touching your face.
  • In case you cannot wash your hands with soap and water, use hand sanitiser.
  • Practice personal hygiene.
  • Stay home and avoid close contact with others when you are sick.

The current scenario in India:

Currently, many people are having a high fever and cough that lasts for more than 2 weeks. Hospitals and clinics are filled with outpatients having fever as the main concern. According to doctors and experts, this is due to the sudden change in the season and the spread of the H3N2 virus, a subtype of influenza A virus. The mornings (early) and nights are cooler, while the days are sunny. This change in temperature has caused most people to fall sick. 

Also, the early spring has been the reason for the worsening of symptoms in vulnerable individuals having respiratory conditions like sinusitis, asthma, allergies, etc.

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