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H3N2 - How to Prevent Influenza

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

What is the H3N2 virus?

Influenza viruses, which cause the infectious disease known as flu, are of four different types: A, B, C and D. Influenza A is further classified into different subtypes and one of them is the H3N2. According to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), H3N2 caused the 1968 flu pandemic that led to the death of around one million people globally and about 100,000 in the US.

A 2020 study, published in the journal Nature Communications, found that the strains of the virus have dramatically evolved in the past five decades as people born in the late 1960s and 1970s got infected by it as children.

What are the symptoms of H3N2?

Its symptoms are similar to that of any other flu. They include cough, fever, body ache and headache, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose and extreme fatigue. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea have been seen in very few cases.

According to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), an infection caused by H3N2 generally lasts for five to seven days and the fever starts going away after three days. However, the coughing can persist for up to three weeks.

Which age group is more vulnerable?

As per the IMA, this virus usually preys on individuals below the age of 15 years or above 50 years of age. Children and those with co-morbidities like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions are at a higher risk.

How to prevent it from spreading?

I would say that self-hygiene is the best way to thwart the spread of H3N2. Washing hands before eating or touching your face, nose or mouth, carrying pocket sanitiser, and avoiding people already infected with the virus or any other seasonal flu are some of the steps one can take to make sure they don’t fall sick due to the H3N2 infection. Moreover, a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables can also play a significant role in improving immunity. The doctor added that drinking a lot of fluids, and eating home-cooked, low-spice and low-fat food can also help.

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