If you are suffering from a cough and cold or are seeing most people around you falling sick, you are not alone. This seasonal flu thing happens every year almost during the same time.

What’s happening?

According to experts, India is in the grip of seasonal flu and cold which most people do not take seriously, but could be actually 'lethal'. This seasonal flu, which is also known as the 'spring influenza', is the reason behind most people having a sore throat, or running around with a handkerchief in their pocket.

So what is this Spring Influenza? 

Dr Meenakshi Jain, Director of Internal Medicine and Diabetologist at Max Healthcare, Delhi explains that there are two kinds of Influenza viruses. Influenza type A and Influenza type B. "A is more common in the Indian sub-continent", she adds. She says that the H1N1 (the infamous swine flu strain) is a kind of type A Influenza.

The H3N2 strain is responsible behind most people falling sick nowadays.

- Dr Meenakshi

Why people are falling sick now? 

She explains that during this time of the year, there generally is a steep rise in cases of what we see as cough, cold, and fever. 

Spring influenza is the reason why people are falling sick. At this time of the year, generally, the season changes and as we transition into summer, the virus gets stronger and more active. 

Dr Jain adds that this influenza if not treated properly on time can even lead to Pneumonia. However, the most threatened age group generally are the kids or the elderly. 

FAQ with Dr Jain:

What are the symptoms that you should look out for?  

  • Fever 
  • Breathing difficulties 
  • Myalgia
  • Chest pain 
  • Fast breathing rate 
  • Falling oxygen rate 

Are there any treatments available? 

  • The best way to recover from influenza as doctors suggest is to take rest and 'give your body time to recover'. 
  • Take more fluids, anti-congestion medicine, paracetamol, and supplements like Vitamin C etc. This is the best way to recover. 

Is there any vaccine available? 

  • There is no specific vaccine for flu. Rather there is something called the hlu shot. 
  • Every year the WHO identifies the latest virus strain and manufactures what is called a flu shot, which basically is a vaccine. 
  • The time to get this shot every year is during the month of September-October
  • Everyone should take the shot, especially children, the elderly, people with asthma, and allergy-prone people.

How long does it take to recover? 

It generally depends on the person's immunity. A normal cough and cold take 2 to 3 days. Influenza takes 5-6 days if that person takes their meds on time. 

How can we detect this influenza, since it’s very similar to Covid?

People often confuse influenza with Covid since the symptoms are very similar. However, Covid is more dangerous and the symptoms are more severe than influenza. You can also take a swap test just like Covid to detect influenza. 

READ MORE: India just saw its hottest February in 146 years. The bad news is it is going to get worse

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