'Hong Kong' Flu Spreads Like Covid In India, Masks Return Ahead of Holi: Here's How To Stay Safe
H3N2 influenza, also known as the “Hong Kong flu,” is a type of influenza virus that can cause respiratory illness in humans. It is a subtype of the Influenza A virus and has been responsible for several influenza outbreaks in the past.
In New Delhi, where people are exhibiting symptoms resembling those of protracted sickness and coughing, there has been a rapid rise in the number of H3N2 influenza infections. According to reports, the state’s high H3N2 influenza prevalence is to blame for the increase in cases. The majority of flu symptoms among people are also influenced by the change in weather from extremely cold to warm.
Symptoms of H3N2 influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. In some cases, people may also experience vomiting and diarrhoea. The symptoms usually last for about a week, but some people may experience them longer.
Treatment for H3N2 influenza includes rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and taking over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce fever and relieve pain. A doctor may also prescribe antiviral medications like oseltamivir and zanamivir for people with severe symptoms or at high risk of complications.
To prevent H3N2 influenza, it is essential to take some measures such as receiving a flu vaccine annually, washing hands with soap and water regularly, avoiding contact with sick people, covering the mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing, and staying home from school or work when sick.
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Ex-AIIMS chief warns
Former AIIMS-Delhi Director Dr Randeep Guleria spoke on the rise in influenza cases caused by the H3N2 virus and said it spreads through droplets and mutates every year around this time. The Chairman of the Institute of Internal Medicine and Respiratory and Sleep Medicine and Director of Medical Education said that with the festive season just around the corner, people should be careful, especially the elderly and those with underlying comorbid conditions.
The expert said that during this time of the year, when the weather changes, there is a higher chance of getting influenza. He also alerted the citizens that since we are back to a non-Covid state now, where we are not wearing masks, it might allow the virus to spread more easily.
Upward tick in Covid cases
Over the past three weeks, there has been an upward tick in Covid-19 infections in India. Even though overall cases reported remain very low, 1,898 new cases were reported last week and there has been no increase in fatalities.
As per data mentioned in a TOI report, the country, however, saw a week-on-week spike of 63 per cent Covid cases in the last seven days, ending Sunday. Last week, there was a 39 per cent rise in cases and a 13 per cent rise in the week before. South India and Maharashtra have reported the most cases.
On March 4, India logged more than 300 new Covid cases after 97 days.
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