A sudden spurt in the cases of the H3N2 Influenza virus has become a cause of concern among people. Recently, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) called Influenza A subtype H3N2 as the major cause of rising respiratory illness in India.

According to World Health Oraganisation, seasonal influenza is characterised by a sudden onset of fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, severe malaise (feeling unwell), sore throat, runny nose, and shortness of breath. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms of influenza such as fever. Patients should monitor themselves to detect if their condition deteriorates and seek medical attention 

Here are a few measures to protect yourself and your loved ones from the virus:

Apart from vaccination and antiviral treatment, public health management includes personal protective measures like:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Regular hand washing with proper drying of the hands.
  • Good respiratory hygiene – covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, using tissues, and disposing of them correctly.
  • Early self-isolation of those feeling unwell, feverish, and having other symptoms of influenza.
  • Avoiding close contact with sick people.
  • Avoiding touching one’s eyes, nose, or mouth.

The Chairman of the Institute of Internal Medicine, Respiratory & Sleep Medicine, Director-Medical Education, Medanta on Influenza Virus, Dr Randeep Guleria said, "H3N2 is a type of influenza virus, which we see every year during this time of the year. But it is a virus that mutates over time called antigenic drift. A pandemic years ago-H1N1, the virus' present circulating strain is H3N2, so it is a normal influenza strain."

He further stated that the virus spreads the same as COVID, through droplets. "Only those who have associated comorbidities need to be careful. For precaution, wear a mask, wash hands frequently, and have physical distancing. For influenza also there is a vaccine for high-risk groups and elderly," Dr Randeep Gulerai added. 

Earlier in the day, the Union Health Ministry conducted a meeting of top health officials of big hospitals and experts and discussed cases of viral infections on the rise in the country, especially due to the H3H2 virus. 

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