Know All About the H3N2 Influenza Virus

By Dr. Sandeep Budhiraja in Internal Medicine

Mar 17 , 2023 | 2 min read

H3N2 influenza A type virus is a strain of the influenza virus known to cause seasonal flu epidemics. It was first detected in humans in 1968 and has since become a major cause of flu-related illnesses and deaths worldwide.

It is an RNA virus and is a variant of avian and swine flu; it can affect birds, mammals and humans. It is necessary to note that H3N2 in India is not a novel outbreak; it has been around for decades.

How common is the H3N2 flu?

H3N2 influenza A type virus is a common strain of the influenza virus in India. It is known to cause severe flu-related illnesses. The virus is most active during winter and can spread rapidly in crowded schools and workplaces.

What are Some Symptoms of the H3N2 Virus?

The symptoms of the H3N2 influenza A type virus are similar to other types of flu. They include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Runny or stuffy nose 
  • In severe cases, the virus can cause pneumonia, bronchitis, and other respiratory infections.
  • Those at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms include young children, elderly adults, and individuals with weakened immune systems.

How is H3N2 Virus Transmitted?

  • Influenza A type virus spreads from person to person through droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 
  • Additionally, the virus can be transmitted by touching a surface that has been contaminated with the virus and then touching one's nose, mouth, or eyes.

What is the Treatment for H3N2 Influenza Virus?

The treatment for H3N2 is focused on managing the symptoms and preventing complications. If you become sick with the H3N2 influenza A type virus in India, it is important to take care of yourself and prevent the spread of the virus to others. 

  • Rest and consume plenty of fluids to help your body fight the infection.
  • Over-the-counter medications like pain relievers and decongestants can help to relieve symptoms such as fever, cough, and congestion.
  • Antiviral medications may also be prescribed to help reduce the severity and duration of the flu.
  • Antibiotics are not effective against the flu since it is caused by a virus and not bacteria. However, antibiotics may be prescribed if a bacterial infection develops as a complication of the flu.
  • If you experience severe symptoms or have a high fever, seek medical attention immediately.

What are Some Precautions We Can Take to Prevent the H3N2 Virus?

  • The best way to prevent the spread of H3N2 influenza A type virus in India is to get vaccinated each year. It is important to note that the flu vaccine is not 100% effective at preventing the flu, but it can help to reduce the severity and duration of the illness.
  • The seasonal flu vaccine is recommended for anyone above the age of 6 months.
  • Pregnant women, people over the age of 65 and people with chronic illnesses like asthma, weakened immune systems, heart diseases, etc., are advised to consult their doctor before taking the seasonal flu vaccine.

Other preventive measures include:

  • Wear a mask in public places and crowded places.
  • Frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Covering the nose and mouth with tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoiding close contact with sick individuals
  • Staying home when feeling unwell

You can protect yourself and others from this virus by taking preventive measures and getting vaccinated each year. If you get sick with H3N2, it is important to rest and stay hydrated, and seek medical attention if the symptoms worsen, especially if you or a loved one are at a higher risk of developing complications.