Combatting H3N2: A Comprehensive Guide to Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
The world has been battling various viruses and diseases for centuries. Viruses are infectious agents that can cause various illnesses in humans, animals, and plants. One such virus causing trouble recently is the H3N2 virus, known for its rapid spread and severe impact on people's health. This blog post discusses the H3N2 virus, its spread in India, symptoms, diagnosis, and some precautions you can take to avoid it.
About H3N2 Virus:
The H3N2 virus is a subtype of the Influenza A virus, first identified in humans in 1968. It is named after the two main surface proteins on its surface, Hemagglutinin (H) and Neuraminidase (N), which are used by the virus to infect cells and spread. The virus is made up of eight single-stranded RNA segments that encode various proteins essential for the virus to replicate and cause infection.
The H3N2 virus is responsible for seasonal flu outbreaks nationwide, with transmission primarily occurring through droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can also spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes. Knowing when to take action or seek medical assistance is crucial in effectively combating the virus and reducing its spread.
Precautionary Measures You Need to Know:
As the H3N2 virus continues to spread, it is vital to take precautions to protect yourself and those around you. Various precautions can be taken to prevent the spread of the H3N2 virus, such as:
- Avoid close contact with people having flu
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
- Stay home when sick to prevent the spread of the virus
- Keep your environment sanitised to prevent virus spread
- Wear a mask in crowded places
However, getting vaccinated is the best way to protect from the H3N2 virus.
Recognising H3N2 Virus:
Although the aforementioned precautions can assist in managing the spread of the H3N2 virus, it's important to recognise that they are not a replacement for medical treatment or vaccination. The efficacy of home remedies in preventing the virus may differ depending on an individual's health and immune system. It's crucial, particularly for senior citizens and those with co-morbidities, to seek medical attention if they experience symptoms similar to seasonal flu, including the following:
- High fever
- Sore throat
- Body aches
Some patients may also experience gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
Diagnosis & Treatment:
A medical professional can diagnose the H3N2 virus and the severity of the infection through various tests, including:
- Physical examination
- Rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDT)
- Viral culture test
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test
- Chest X-ray (if pneumonia is suspected)
Treating the H3N2 virus typically involves managing the symptoms and preventing complications. This can include getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, taking over-the-counter medications for fever and pain relief, and using a humidifier to ease cough and sore throat. Antiviral medications are generally prescribed in some instances to reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.
In severe cases, hospitalisation may be necessary to treat the H3N2 virus. Moreover, early detection and hospitalisation can significantly reduce the risk of complications such as pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.
Premier Hospital has a specialised department, ICCU facilities and emergency professionals trained to handle viral outbreaks like the H3N2 virus. Our expert Pulmonologists can provide critical care to patients with difficulty breathing or requiring mechanical ventilation.
During an outbreak of the H3N2 virus, it's natural to feel worried or scared. However, it's important to remember that we don't have to panic. We can effectively combat the virus and reduce its spread with the right precautions and prompt medical attention. By being aware of the symptoms and seeking care from medical professionals, such as those at Premier Hospital, we can work together to minimise the impact of the H3N2 virus and protect our communities.