H3N2 Virus: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

H3N2 Virus: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Recently, a sudden increase in the number of patients who are infected with the Influenza Virus Subtype H3N2 has been observed in a variety of significant locations across the globe. Patients are exhibiting all of the symptoms of H3N2, including fever, cough, fatigue, headache, aches and pain in the muscles, sore throat, and nasal congestion. This virus is notorious for being one of the viruses that spreads the quickest and is responsible for a large number of people becoming very ill. It has already been responsible for a significant number of outbreaks of seasonal flu in 2023. There are four primary strains of the influenza virus that can infect humans: influenza A, influenza B, influenza C, and influenza D.

In India, the influenza A virus subtype H3N2 is spreading at a rapid rate. According to reports, the virus has already killed two people, causing widespread fear among citizens. According to the Indian Council of Medical Researches (ICMR), the recent cases of severe coughing accompanied by a fever lasting a week or longer that have been observed in many parts of the country may be attributable to the Influenza A subtype H3N2 virus. An H3N2 infection typically lasts between 5 and 7 days, and the fever begins to subside after 3 days. However, coughing can last up to three weeks; therefore, people should not panic. According to the Indian Medical Association, this virus typically targets individuals younger than 15 or older than 50.

What are the Symptoms of H3N2 influenza

Individuals infected with H3N2 may experience a variety of flu-like symptoms. Among these symptoms are the following:

  • High fever
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Chills
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea, which will more frequently occur in children
  • Muscle weakness

In severe cases, H3N2 positive can cause pneumonia, which can be fatal, especially in the elderly, young children, and people with weakened immune systems.

How transmission occurs

When an infected person coughs, speaks or sneezes, droplets of the H3N2 virus remain suspended in the air and can spread very easily. It can also spread through indirect contact with contaminated objects or direct contact with infected individuals.

Diagnosis of H3N2 Virus

As it might be challenging to distinguish H3N2 influenza from other environmental pathogens clinically, a respiratory sample and a laboratory diagnostic test will be required to determine the nature of the pathogen.

  • Swabs from the nose or throat for real-time RT-PCR
  • Test for H2N3 Virus in culture
  • Testing for the H3N2 Virus with antibodies

How long does H3N2 flu last?

H3N2 influenza symptoms frequently last for up to a week, though some people may experience them for longer. The mainstays of treatment include rest, hydration, and the use of medicine prescribed by a doctor to ease pain and lower temperature.

What is the treatment for H3N2?

The Indian Medical Association has advised individuals not to panic and to avoid taking antibiotics such as azithromycin and amoxicillin as doing so can result in antibiotic resistance. .

The standard treatment for H3N2 typically involves the following:

  • Getting plenty of rest.
  • Staying hydrated
  • Symptomatic treatment for fever and cough
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Low-spice and low-fat home-cooked meals
  • Avoiding diets high in sugar or sodium
  • Taking your doctor's prescribed medications

Antiviral medications may be prescribed in more severe cases or for people with underlying health conditions.

How to Prevent Influenza H3N2 Infection?

Getting vaccinated is the most effective way to protect against H3N2 influenza. As the virus mutates over time and can become resistant to previous vaccines, the flu vaccine should be taken every year. To avoid viral infection, practice self-hygiene.

You can take the following measures to protect yourself and your family from H3N2:

  • Wash your hands before eating and before touching your face, nose, or mouth.
  • When traveling, use hand sanitizers
  • Avoid crowded areas whenever possible
  • Wear a mask in public areas
  • Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid coming into contact with people who are already infected with H3N2
  • Don’t forget to get the flu vaccine every year
  • Eat healthy to improve immunity
  • Avoid sending the kids to school if he/ she depicts symptoms
  • Stay at home if you are sick to prevent the spread of the virus

Get the best Pediatrics health check up package in Chennai which includes all the tests required to monitor thePediatrics health profile. If you are looking for a Pediatrics  specialist, Prashanth Hospital might be one of your top options.

Dr. Dr Seenivasan Subramani, MBBS, MD(Pediatrics),

DM(Pediatric Critical Care),

Head, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit,

Prashanth Hospital Velachery Chennai