Everything you need to know about the H3N2 virus Health

With the changing climate, temperate climate and increased pollution, a new virus called H3N2 has emerged. It is spreading in different parts of the country and while it is still in its early stages, the government is encouraging people to take precautions for themselves.


In a letter to states and Union Territories, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan expressed his concern over the rising cases across the country. He said, “In order to limit the transmission of these diseases, it is important to raise awareness in the community about following respiratory and hand hygiene, promoting early reporting of symptoms and limiting contact with people suffering from respiratory diseases.”

Representation Image (Shutterstock)
Representation Image (Shutterstock)

The H3N2 virus is a subtype of influenza A virus that causes respiratory disease in humans. This virus has been known to produce outbreaks of seasonal influenza in the past, says Dr Yogesh Gupta, Senior Physician/Geriatrician, Stirling Hospital.

The virus has been found to infect not only humans but also animals like birds and pigs, says Dr Madhuri Mehend, gynecologist and obstetrician at Zainova Salbi Hospital in Mumbai, “This particular strain of the virus has the ability to mutate. give rise to new strains, which may be more dangerous to human health.”

The H3N2 virus is known to have caused a pandemic in 1968. Since then, it has caused epidemics in various parts of the world. Dr Shashikant Nigam, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Apollo Hospitals, Ahmedabad says, “However, today we are better prepared to deal with it. The possibility of this virus becoming an epidemic is low. The government has created a mechanism for mitigation. It is expected to disappear by the end of March. ”

With any respiratory viral illness, children, adults over 65, pregnant women, and those with comorbidities are at high risk of infection. So far the number of cases in India is not too alarming. However, Dr Amit Kaul, HOD and Senior Consultant Paediatrician, Surya Mother and Child Super Specialty Hospital, Pune, explains, “H3N2 is a common form of influenza virus. This year, post-Covid-19, it is causing more serious infections due to reduced exposure and reduced immunity.

Therefore, it is important to understand the potential risks associated with the virus.


Symptoms of H3N2 infection are comparable to those of other influenza viruses. A persistent cough and shortness of breath are warning signs. A chronic cough can last for three to four weeks.


Sore throat

the cough


nasal discharge,

Runny or stuffy nose

Fatigue and lethargy

Stomach ache

The body hurts



the cold


Experts suggest to incorporate similar precautionary measures followed during Covid-19, especially use masks in crowded indoor places like malls, movie halls, auditoriums, etc. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, says internal medicine consultant Dr Shashikant Nigam. , Apollo Hospital, Ahmedabad and not to contact those who are sick. He also advised to stay at home if sick to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Also avoid high sugar and salty foods to reduce dehydration. Drink plenty of water, and eat fruits and green vegetables. Get enough rest and sleep well, says Dr Yogesh Gupta, Senior Physician/Geriatrician, Stirling Hospital.

Precautions to prevent the spread of H3N2 virus Frequent hand washing with soap and water;


The virus is mainly asymptomatic until confirmed in viral culture by RTPCR. Dr Shashikant Nigam, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Apollo Hospitals, Ahmedabad says, “Oseltamivir (antiviral) is a commonly prescribed drug that is used to treat H3N2. However, antibiotics should not be taken unless the blood report shows signs of a secondary infection.

This medication can help reduce the severity of symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness if taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. “However, antiviral drugs are not a substitute for vaccination and should not be used to prevent the spread of the virus,” says Dr Yogesh Gupta, Senior Physician/Geriatrician, Stirling Hospital. Vaccination is an effective method of preventing the spread of the H3N2 virus and other influenza viruses. But the current flu vaccine offers no protection against the H3N2 virus.

Children and viruses

The virus affects people of all ages. However, children may be more susceptible to infection. Dr Amit Kaul, HOD and Senior Consultant Paediatrics, Surya Aama and Child Super Specialty Hospital, Pune, says, “Children with asthma and comorbid diseases such as obesity, neurological problems, and heart diseases are at increased risk of infection.”

In children, some early symptoms may go under the radar because parents may not always consult medical professionals for coughs, mild to moderate fevers, or sore throats for children. In this case the fever can go up to 104-105 F and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, slow movements. In some extreme cases, even children can have seizures. These symptoms are sometimes prolonged and can last up to 2 weeks.

“Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for children under the age group to help develop immunity. Children should not be sent to school if they show symptoms,” Kaul said.

Pregnant women and viruses

Women, during pregnancy, are at higher risk of contracting the H3N2 virus. This can lead to serious health consequences so it is essential to seek medical attention if they show symptoms, says Dr Madhuri Mehendle, Gynecologist and Obstetrician, Zainova Shalbi Hospital, Mumbai. “

While treatment for pregnant women who are infected is the same, they should prioritize rest, nutrition, and water intake. Also avoid contact with other sick people.

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