After the coronavirus, India is witnessing a new enemy: the H3N2 virus. While India is still recovering from the aftermath of Covid 19, the surge in cases of H3N2 may be a cause of concern. According to reports, 600 influenza cases have been recorded in India. Among the 600 cases, 451 cases of H3N2 have been reported from January 2 to March 5.
But what is the H3N2 virus? What are its symptoms, and how does it spread? In this blog, we will learn more about the H3N2 virus, so please keep reading.
What is the H3N2 virus?
The H3N2 virus known to circulate in pigs is a subtype of the Influenza A virus. When these viruses are found in humans, they are called “variant” viruses. In 2011, a new variant called H3N2v was discovered in humans with the matrix gene from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus. This virus was initially identified in pigs in the United States in 2010. This H3N2 virus can cause respiratory problems in those affected.
How does the H3N2 virus spread?
The H3N2 virus can spread from pigs to humans and from humans to pigs. It spreads through infected droplets when an infected pig coughs or sneezes, similar to how seasonal flu spreads among people. Infection can occur by inhaling the droplets released by an infected person or touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the face. Inhaling particles containing the virus is also a possible route of infection. However, it is uncertain which method of transmission is most common, as per scientists.
What are the symptoms of the H3N2 virus?
The symptoms of the H3N2 virus resemble the symptoms that occur due to regular flu infections. Some of the symptoms of the H3N2 virus to watch out for and take appropriate treatment and prevention measures for include the following,
- Difficulty in breathing
- Severe and persistent vomiting
- Dehydration as a result of persistent vomiting and diarrhea
- Body pain
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
Who is at risk of contracting H3N2 infection?
Anyone can contract the H3N2 infection. However, the people who are at high risk of getting H3N2 infection include,
- People who are more than 65 years of age
- Pregnant women
- People having existing conditions such as asthma
What is the treatment for the H3N2 virus?
The treatment provided for H3N2 is similar to that given for influenza. Upon suspecting an H3N2 infection, it is necessary to get yourself checked. Depending on the symptoms, their severity, and your overall health, your doctor will prescribe you the right treatment measures.
How to prevent H3N2 infection?
To prevent contracting or spreading H3N2 infection, the following preventive measures are to be taken,
- Please clean your hands by washing them often with soap and water or using hand sanitizer.
- Take proper rest
- Ensure you drink plenty of water
- Avoid close contact with other people, such as shaking hands, hugging, etc
- Do not spit in public areas
- Refrain from touching your face or nose
- Wear a mask when you’re around others and avoid large gatherings
- When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue or handkerchief cover your mouth and nose
- Keep personal items such as a handkerchief, clothes, and towels clean
- Maintain proper sanitation in the house
H3N3 viral infection can happen to anyone. Hence it is advised to follow proper preventive measures to prevent its spread. Proper sanitation, social distancing, wearing masks, eating clean, staying hydrated, and maintaining personal hygiene are essential to prevent infections. Additionally, it is also important to spread awareness about the same. Upon noticing any symptoms resembling those that happen during the flu, isolating yourself and seeking prompt treatment is essential. At Ayu Health, we offer exceptional services to patients who require medical attention for viral infections, including H3N2. Our hospital has highly qualified medical professionals and modern medical equipment that guarantee prompt and accurate diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care for all our patients. Our priority is to provide quality care to patients while keeping our services affordable.
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About the Author
Dr. S. Goel
Dr. S. Goel is a renowned Internal Medicine Specialist currently practicing at Ayu Health, Bangalore. He is a Specialist in Internal Medicine, Diabetes HTN, Paediatric Care, and Family Medicine.