The previous four types of influenza viruses that cause the contagious illness known as the flu are A, B, C, and D. The H3N2 subtype of influenza A is one of several subtypes of influenza A.
The “swine influenza viruses” or H3N2v are non-human influenza viruses that typically infect pigs but have also infected humans. These viruses are known as “variant” viruses when they infect people. With genes from avian, swine, and human viruses as well as the M gene from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus, the specific H3N2 variant virus was discovered in humans in 2011.
The 1968 flu pandemic, which killed 100,000 people in the US and about a million people worldwide, was brought on by H3N2. A 2020 investigation was released in the journal Nature Communications.
Similar to other flu symptoms, it has some of the same ones. They consist of a runny or stuffy nose, runny or feverish nose, body ache, headache, sore throat, and extreme exhaustion. In very few instances, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea have been observed. H3N2 infections typically last five to seven days, with the fever starting to subside after three days. Coughing, however, can continue for up to three weeks.
In general, people under the age of 15 or over the age of 50 fall victim to this virus. Risk factors include being a child, having co-morbid conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, a weakened immune system, and neurological or neurodevelopmental disorders.
The highly contagious H3N2 influenza can be transmitted from one person to another through droplets released during coughing, sneezing, or talking by an infected person.
It can also spread if someone touches their mouth or nose after touching a surface that has the virus on it. Pregnant women, young children, older adults, and people with underlying medical conditions are at a higher risk of flu-related complications.
The best defense against the spread of H3N2 is good personal hygiene. One can prevent getting sick from the H3N2 infection by washing their hands before eating or touching their face, nose, or mouth, carrying pocket sanitizer, and avoiding people who have the virus or any other seasonal flu.
A healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables can also significantly contribute to boosting immunity. The doctor also suggested eating home-cooked, low-spice, low-fat food and drinking lots of water.
Treatment for H3N2 influenza includes getting enough rest, drinking lots of fluids, and reducing fever with over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Antiviral medications like oseltamivir and zanamivir may also be suggested by a doctor if a patient has severe symptoms or is at a high risk of complications.
WHO recommends that neuraminidase inhibitors be prescribed as soon as possible (ideally, within 48 hours of symptom onset) in suspected and confirmed cases to maximize therapeutic benefits. It is crucial to take precautions against H3N2 influenza, such as getting vaccinated each year.
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