According to recent reports, the spread of the H3N2 virus is rapidly increasing throughout the country. Although it is common for individuals to catch the common flu due to changes in the weather, the H3N2 influenza seems to be taking advantage of this reason to spread rapidly.
The symptoms of this virus are also identical to flu and may last between 5 days to 1 week with an extended period of coughing and sickness. However, with recently recorded deaths due to this subtype of Influenza A, the situation may require individuals to take precautions for healthcare. Therefore, we will discuss the preventive measures to help prevent you and your children from catching this virus.
What Is Influenza A Subtype H3N2 Virus?
Flu is a contagious disease, and the reason behind this disease is influenza viruses. There are four known types of this virus such as influenza A, influenza B, influenza C and influenza D. Under the influenza A virus, H3N2 is one of the many subtypes and can result in respiratory illness.
Moreover, the H3N2 virus, also known as the Hong Kong flu, has genes originating from humans, birds and pigs. It is understood as the non-human or novel influenza virus, usually spreading in pigs and later infecting humans.
Since they generally spread in pigs, they are alternatively known as swine influenza virus. When the same viruses cause infection in humans, they are referred to as variants, as explained by the CDC (or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) of the United States.
CDC of the US also states that the 1968 pandemic caused by the H3N2 resulted in a global death of 1 million individuals. Over multiple decades, these virus strains have seen dramatic evolution. However, the H3N2 influenza viruses were first found in swine in 2010, with cases of infections in humans in 2011. Further, it led to an outbreak and spread in several places.
How Can Humans Get Infected By The Virus From Pigs?
Today, it becomes crucial for parents to find the best methods and tips for kids care to protect them from catching viruses. It is especially the case with younger age children. Before we look at the symptoms and preventive measures, you must understand how these infections spread.
The influenza virus can cause infection in pigs which spread to humans. It can also circulate from infected individuals to pigs. The virus spreading from infected pigs to individuals might occur similar to how seasonal influenzas commonly spread from an infected person to a healthy person.
When a pig is infected, it coughs and sneezes, which causes infected droplets to spread in the air. When humans inhale these droplets, either through the mouth or nose, they get infected by the virus.
Furthermore, there are chances of individuals coming in contact with these viruses by touching infected things and later touching their noses or mouths. As a result, this can also cause them to catch the virus.
Other times, it is possible to get infected by the H3N2 virus if an individual inhales particles carrying the virus.
Now that you know how influenza viruses spread, it is crucial to understand the symptoms. With flu-like symptoms, an individual affected by the H3N2 influenza virus sees the following signs:
- Body ache
- Extreme fatigue
- Rhinorrhoea or runny nose
- Raw or painful throat
In extreme cases, individuals may suffer:
These symptoms may last up to 1 week, and within three days the fever may start getting better. However, the individual may suffer from continuous coughing for a maximum of three weeks.
Preventive Measure For Stopping The Spread of the H3N2 Virus
The world has fought a rigorous battle against the Covid pandemic and is aware of the measures taken to prevent itself from catching the virus. Although the threat of Covid virus still prevails, there are several other viruses continuously evolving.
One such virus is H3N2, which means individuals must keep up with the protocols and measures to prevent the spread and maintain healthcare. Here are some of the steps that we advise you to follow:
- It is essential to maintain hygiene if you want to prevent yourself and your kids from catching the virus. Therefore, ensure washing your hands frequently using soap or handwashing with water.
- Make it a point to use sanitiser outside and ask your kids to carry sanitiser to school and other places.
- As you know touching your mouth or nose can also cause individuals to get infected. Therefore, not touching your nose and face
is a good practice too.
- An individual is more vulnerable to catching the virus in an outdoor environment. Hence, whenever you leave your house, make it a habit to wear your mask. If possible, try to avoid a place with large gatherings.
- You must cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing to ensure you do not spread the virus by infecting other individuals.
- When a person touches infected things, they can easily catch a virus. Additionally, encountering another infected person can cause you to contract the virus. For this reason, professionals advise you to not shake hands with other individuals.
- Make sure not to spit in public places.
- Additionally, a healthy diet is essential to boost your and your kids immunity. Therefore, you must consume enough water and increase your fluid intake.
- Besides water, your and your kids’s diet must include all kinds of fruits and healthy veggies.
- Health professionals also recommend eating meals that are home-cooked and consist of less amount of spice and fat.
Who Is At A Higher Risk Of Catching The H3N2 Virus?
The Influenza A virus subtype known as the H3N2 virus usually attacks age groups below 15 years and those above 50 years. Hence, parents must at all costs follow the said measures and tips for kids care.
Additionally, the group susceptible to infection includes pregnant women. Individuals with serious illnesses are at an increased risk of catching the influenza virus. These conditions may be heart diseases, asthma, heart conditions, neurological diseases, diabetes, and a weak immune system.
Why Must We Prevent The Spread Of The H3N2 Virus?
It is essential to prevent the virus from spreading as a large group of individuals can get affected. Moreover, the spread of this virus is a global concern as it can lead to severe complications, including pneumonia. Any negligence in such conditions can also lead to loss of life.
The virus is continuously evolving, making it easier for humans to get affected. And those individuals who are born after the year 2001 have weaker immunity to fight the virus.
With seasonal changes and sudden weather changes, individuals can catch flu infections. One such contagious infection is the H3N2 virus, a subtype of Influenza A. Recently, the rise in the H3N2 virus has led the authorities to raise concerns and advise parents and other individuals to take preventive measures.
Since the virus affects children, pregnant women, individuals above 50 years, and though with comorbidities, it is essential to follow all the preventive measures. These include washing hands regularly, using sanitiser, wearing masks, avoiding crowded places, not shaking hands, and more.
It is advisable to not panic and consistently follow the said measures. Further, consult a doctor before taking any medications and do not consume antibiotics.