H3N2 virus influenza: When does the flu get serious?
What is the H3N2 virus?
Influenza viruses, which cause the infectious disease known as flu, are of four different types: A, B, C, and D. Influenza A is further classified into different subtypes and one of them is the H3N2. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), H3N2 caused the 1968 flu pandemic that led to the death of around one million people globally and about 100,000 in the US.
A 2020 study, published in the journal Nature Communications, found that the strains of the virus have dramatically evolved in the past five decades as people born in the late 1960s and 1970s got infected by it as children.
Which age group is more vulnerable?
As per the IMA, this virus usually preys on individuals below the age of 15 years or above 50 years of age. Children and those with co-morbidities like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions are at a higher risk
SEVERE SYMPTOMS OF H3N2 INFLUENZA
1. Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath can indicate the onset of pneumonia or other respiratory complications.
2. Severe or persistent vomiting: Severe or persistent vomiting can be a symptom of severe H3N2 influenza. This can lead to dehydration.
3. Dehydration: Dehydration can occur if a person with H3N2 influenza is not drinking enough fluids or is experiencing severe vomiting or diarrhea.
4. Low blood pressure: Low blood pressure can occur if a person with severe H3N2 influenza is experiencing dehydration or sepsis.
5. High rate of breathing: A high rate of breathing can occur if a person with severe H3N2 influenza is experiencing difficulty breathing or low oxygen saturation.
6. Worsening of existing chronic medical conditions: H3N2 influenza can worsen existing chronic medical conditions like asthma or diabetes.
7. Bluish lips or face can be a sign of low oxygen levels in the blood, which can occur with severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia, which can be a complication of influenza.
8. Seizures or convulsions can occur as a result of fever or inflammation in the brain, which can occur with severe cases of influenza or other viral infections.
9. Confusion or disorientation can occur as a result of fever or inflammation in the brain, which can occur with severe cases of influenza or other viral infections.
10. High fever that persists for more than three days is a common symptom of H3N2 influenza, as well as other types of influenza, and can be a sign of a more severe case of the illness.
11. Extreme fatigue or weakness is another common symptom of H3N2 influenza, as the body is using a lot of energy to fight off the virus.
12. Chest pain or pressure is a viral respiratory illness that primarily affects the upper respiratory system.
"If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications to help relieve the symptoms and prevent complications. Healthy lifestyle choices can lower the risk of H3N2 influenza and a strong primary care system with access to a full-time model for doctors can overcome barriers to treatment," says Dr. Inamdar.
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