The H3N2 virus: There are four types of influenza virus: A, B, C, and D. Influenza A, B, and C can spread to humans. However, only influenza A and B cause the seasonal epidemics of respiratory illness that occur every year. Influenza A viruses are further divided into different subtypes based on two proteins found on the surface of the virus — hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). There are 18 different subtypes of HA, which are numbered H1 through H18. Similarly, there are 11 different subtypes of NA, numbered N1 through N11.
H3N2 is a subtype of Influenza A virus that mainly causes respiratory infection, other influenza A subtype includes H1N1 (sometimes known as swine flu). Typically, flu seasons that are dominated by H3N2 activity are more severe, particularly among at-risk groups such as older adults and younger children. The virus can also infect birds and mammals. In bird and other animals, it has mutated into many strains.
The spread: The prevalence of flu symptoms among people is also influenced by the change in weather from extremely cold to warm. The extremely contagious H3N2 influenza can be transmitted from one person to another through droplets released when coughing, sneezing, or talking by an infected individual. It can also spread if someone touches their mouth or nose after contacting a surface that has the virus on it.
Symptoms: The virus mainly causes respiratory illness but in few it might cause diarrhoea for a day or two. It may cause disease ranging from mild upper respiratory infection (fever and cough) to rapid progression to severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), shock and even death.
It is seen that influenza A H3N2 infections are more severe than A H1N1 or B in terms of fever, leukopenia, and C-reactive protein.
Myalgia or body ache and other symptoms such as fever, headache, general malaise and sore throat are equally frequent in influenza A H3N2, A H1N1, and B infections, while gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, epigastralgia, and diarrhoea are more prominent in influenza B.
Some of the common symptoms of H3N2 virus are:
- Sneezing and runny nose
- Sore throat/ throat ache
- An ache in muscles and body
- In some cases, diarrhoea
Yes, a few percent of people also experience loose motions for a day or two. In such cases the virus enters the digestive tract instead of the respiratory tract.
If a person experiences difficulty in breathing, pain or discomfort in chest, continuous fever and pain in throat while gulping down the food, it is very important to see a doctor. According to the ICMR, in hospitalized patients with H3N2, 92% patients were found to have fever, 86% had cough, 27% breathlessness, 16% wheezing. Additionally, the ICMR surveillance found that 16% such patients had pneumonia and 6% had seizures. About 10% of patients suffering severe acute respiratory infections caused by H3N2 needed oxygen, and 7% required ICU care.
Treatment: Indiscriminate use of antibiotics only adds to the misery of the patients due to antibiotic resistance, while Homeopathy has proved highly effective in such cases. Therefore, Homeopathy is the most healthy way to treat pregnant women, young children, elderly adults, and persons with underlying medical issues who are at a higher risk of flu-related complications. They should start homeopathic treatment as early as possible.
The indicated medicines are Aconite, Arsenic-alb, Bryonia, Eupatorium-perf, Gelsemium, Influenzinum, Rhus-tox, etc. Even if you don't have the flu, Homeopathic medicines can still be taken as a preventive during the outbreaks, because Homeopathy is also effective as a prophylactic against influenza.
Taking proper rest, drinking lots of fluids, maintaining proper hygiene and timely visit to your nearest homeopath might save you from unnecessary hospital visits and a long-term illness. Self-diagnosis and self-medication is never recommended. Always seek advice of a qualified homeopathic physician before taking any medicines. Contact us for an online consultation.
Note: The author disclaims all liability for any loss or risk, personal or otherwise incurred as a consequence of use of any material in this article. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.