As the world continues to navigate the danger of COVID-19 and resume normalcy, the recent surge in cases of Influenza Virus has been the cause of the rise in significant tension for the general public. While Coronavirus has dominated headlines and public health efforts in the recent past with the pandemic, the seasonal influenza virus has continued to be a significant public health concern over the years.

Several misconceptions regarding Covid and Influenza

Several misconceptions regarding both viruses have formed among the masses since the COVID outbreak in 2020 regarding the similarities and differences between the two infectious diseases. While both these diseases are known to affect the respiratory system of the human body and share similar symptoms, the two infectious diseases are caused by two different kinds of viruses and are treated differently.

Similar symptoms of Covid and influenza

Similar symptoms that create the misconception among the masses include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, tiredness, sore throat, running or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, and nausea or vomiting. It is essential to know that while the symptoms of the two illnesses are similar, the onset time is different. Symptoms for COVID-19 generally appear after 2 to 14 days of exposure to the virus whereas patients can experience the symptoms of Flu in about 1 to 4 days post-exposure.

Prevention of Covid-19 and H3N2 virus

As both illnesses are spread through droplets i.e. when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes in close quarters to an uninfected person, the prevention techniques are also quite similar. To prevent the spread of Covid-19 and the Flu, it is advised for patients to practice good hand hygiene, encourage masking, and avoid close contact with infected individuals while getting vaccinated for both illnesses.

Vaccines for Covid and H3N2

Given that the COVID-19 virus is distinct from the H3N2 virus that causes influenza, the vaccines used for each virus are different. Therefore, the COVID-19 vaccine will not provide protection against influenza. However, there are several vaccines available for influenza, including flu shots and influenza vaccines that work by preparing the immune system to combat the specific virus.

The development of vaccines for any virus is based on a thorough understanding of the virus's characteristics, such as its morphology and rate of proliferation. Consequently, it is crucial to recognize that specific vaccines are designed to stimulate the immune system to respond specifically to the virus for which they were created.

In conclusion, vaccination and following COVID norms are key to preventing the spread of both illnesses. While the cases of COVID-19 have curbed down in the recent past, the pandemic is still far from over and the general public is advised to still follow the COVID norms in order to reduce their chances of getting infected with the virus. By following COVID norms, people will also be able to prevent the spread of the Influenza virus. It is also advised for anyone experiencing the symptoms mentioned above to seek medical assistance in case the symptoms persist.

Dr. Kuldeep Kumar Grover is the head of critical care & Pulmonology- CK Birla Hospital, Gurgaon

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