The sudden surge in cases of fever, cold, cough, and severe respiratory infections is now a significant cause of concern in India, right now. The Indian Council of Medical Research or ICMR in an advisory that was issued over the last weekend revealed ‘Influenza A Subtype H3N2’ as the primary reason behind these conditions triggered by respiratory viruses.
A H3N2 is a subtype of viruses that causes flu but is more virulent than other influenza subtypes and can lead to hospitalizations. According to the surveillance data released by ICMR’s VRDLS, from mid-December to till date, around 50% of the in-patients complained of Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI), and a significant number of outpatients with severe flu symptoms were affected by A H3N2.
Also Read: Swine Flu: Know About The Causes, Symptoms And Treatment Of This Deadly H1N1 Virus
The data further revealed that in patients affected by influenza A H3N2, around 92 per cent of patients are suffering from high fever, 86 per cent from a severe cough and 27 per cent from shortness of breath, 16 per cent from clinical signs of pneumonia and another 16 per cent from wheezing. In addition, in rare cases, 6 per cent of patients exhibit seizures that require urgent medical intervention.
ICMR further stated that 10 per cent of SARI patients with A H3N2 needed oxygen, and 7 per cent were admitted to ICU for aggressive treatment. Elderly patients with co-morbidities would require immediate medical attention.
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How To Be Safe From H3N2?
ICMR has suggested a must-do and don’t list of measures to safeguard ourselves from this aggressive influenza infection.
Also Read: Swine Flu: Do’s and Don’ts To Prevent Deadly Influenza
The to-do-list includes:
- Wash your hands regularly with a good handwash
- If you notice any flu-like symptoms, including fever, cold, and cough, wear masks and avoid meeting people
- Cover your mouth and nose while sneezing and coughing
- Stay hydrated, drink plenty of fluids
- Avoid touching eyes and nose
- Talk to your doctor for medication, and do not self-medicate
- Avoid shaking hands with others
- Do not spit in public places, as it allows the virus to spread faster.
- Do not take antibiotics or other medications without approval from the doctor
- Do not share personal items and food
- Avoid sitting close to others in public places
- Advice Against Antibiotics:
The Indian Medical Association also stepped in with an advisory to deal with the sudden infection rise. The medical body strongly advised against the indiscriminate use of antibiotics to fight the symptoms. In a statement, the IMA said that the viral cases result from increasing air pollution and primarily affect children under 15 and adults above 50.
IMA’s Standing Committee for Anti-Microbial Resistance further said that the fever might last up to three days the cough may persist for the next three weeks.
(If you notice any flu-like symptoms and want to avoid stepping out, feel free to consult our online doctors right away. Click here to book an online consultation with our in-house doctors!)