H3N2 Flu Wave Hits Country: Symptoms, Precautions, Do’s and Don’ts | News from India

NEW DELHI: Hospitals across the country have reported thousands of cases of influenza A subtype H3N2 in recent months, which causes fever for 3-5 days and a persistent cough that can last up to three weeks.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) noted that the particular strain causes more hospitalizations than any other subtype of influenza.
According to the ICMR, in hospitalized patients with H3N2, 92% of patients had fever, 86% cough, 27% dyspnea, 16% wheezing. Additionally, ICMR surveillance found that 16% of these patients had pneumonia and 6% had seizures.
“About 10% of patients suffering from severe acute respiratory infections caused by H3N2 required oxygen and 7% required intensive care care,” said the ICMR.
Symptoms to watch out for:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Nausea
  • Vomit
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle and body pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose and sneezing

The apex health research agency has also suggested a list of dos and don’ts for people to follow to protect themselves from contracting the virus.

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
  • Wear masks and avoid crowded areas
  • Avoid touching your mouth and nose
  • Cover your nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing
  • Stay hydrated and consume plenty of fluids
  • Only take prescribed medicines (such as acetaminophen) for fever and body aches.

What not to do

  • Shake hands or use other touch-based greetings
  • Spit in public
  • Self-medicate with antibiotics
  • Eat sitting next to others or in a crowd

IMA advises against the indiscriminate use of antibiotics
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has advised against the indiscriminate use of antibiotics due to the increase in cases of coughs, colds and nausea across the country.

The association has also asked doctors to only prescribe symptomatic treatments and not antibiotics.
“Right now, people start taking antibiotics like azithromycin and amoxiclav etc, that too without worrying about dose and frequency, and stop it once they start feeling better. This needs to be stopped as it leads to Antibiotic resistance. Whenever there is real use of antibiotics, they won’t work because of resistance,” the IMA said in a statement.

The most abused antibiotics are amoxicillin, norfloxacin, oprofloxacin, ofloxacin and levofloxacin.
Who is at risk?
The IMA’s Antimicrobial Resistance Standing Committee said viral cases have increased due to air pollution, adding that the disorder occurs mainly in people aged under 15 and over 50 and causes respiratory tract infections higher together with fever.

The wave of infections is likely to subside from the end of March or the first week of April when the temperature starts to rise.
(With contributions from agencies)


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