H2N3 Virus


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It’s flu season again, as cases of avian influenza are on the rise. With COVID-19 on the decline, other viruses spread respiratory illness throughout the country. One of the prominent majorities is being taken by the H2N3 virus or the avian flu. 

What is the H2N3 Virus? 

The H2N3 virus belongs to the influenza virus group that generally affects birds, hence its better-known name, “avian flu.” Once in a while, usually, throughout over a decade, these viruses undergo mutation and infect humans. These infections are generally respiratory infections of the upper tract. Occasionally, the virus can also cause pneumonia and require hospitalization.

H2N3 is a virus from the influenza family that primarily infects the respiratory system and causes some or all of the following symptoms:

  1. Sore throat.
  2. Fever with chills.
  3. Body pain.
  4. Fatigue.
  5. Dry cough.
  6. Running nose.
  7. Sneezing.
  8. Headache.

Apart from symptoms related to the respiratory tract, the viral infection can manifest as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and even rashes. The systemic reactions to inflammation in the bodyIf a complication develops, especially in vulnerable age groups like older adults, children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals, the following conditions can also develop.

  1. Pneumonia.
  2. Ear infection.
  3. Meningitis. 
  4. Encephalitis.
  5. Bronchitis.
  6. Myocarditis.

If not handled on time, these complications can lead to morbidity and, in the worst cases, mortality. Therefore, timely treatment of susceptible populations can lead to better and improved outcomes.

How infectious is H2N3? 

The H2N3 virus’s infectivity depends on the host immune system, the mode of transmission, the load of bacteria transmitted, and also the duration of exposure. High viral load exposure, even briefly, can cause H2N3 infection. Their prevalence in the country is so significant that nearly 70–50% of the cases of respiratory illness in the country between January and December were due to H2N3 infection.

How is the H2N3 infection transmitted?

The transmission of H2N3 infection is usually through droplets. When a person infected with H2N3 sneezes, coughs, or talks, it releases a lot of droplets in the air, leading to infection on inhalation. Sometimes they can even be transmitted by touching common surfaces or sharing items. 

How long is the incubation period in H2N3?

From the time of exposure, it takes about 2–3 days for the symptoms to show. It could be longer or shorter depending on the immunity of the patient.

 How long does the infection due to H2N3 persist?

The infection may persist for 5-7 days and last longer in some people. The duration of illness depends on the patient’s immunity, coexisting health conditions like diabetes or hypertension, and the strain of the infecting virus. 

How long has the person been infected with H2N3?

The person can be infectious for 10–15 days, and it can persist for longer if the viral load is higher, if there are any complications from the infection, or if the person is immunosuppressed, with the infectivity lasting over a month.

If you have any of the symptoms of the H2N3 virus infection, do take strict precautions like using masks and isolation so that the spread of the disease can be limited and older adults, kids, and pregnant women can be protected. 

How can I prevent infection due to H2N3?

To avoid infection from H2N3 and other flu-causing viruses, the following precautions are beneficial:

  1. Maintain respiratory hygiene by wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, using proper etiquette like sneezing or coughing into the elbow, and getting rid of used napkins or cloth in a sanitary fashion.
  2. For older adults, smokers, and immunosuppressed or immunocompromised individuals, taking a flu shot before the flu season can help prevent severe infection with any respiratory viruses.
  3. Proper hand hygiene with regular handwashing and the use of sanitizer can also help contain the spread of disease.
  4. Self-isolation and care can help prevent the further spread of infections in the community.
  5. Avoid crowded places like malls, markets, and fairs, or go at a time with fewer people.
  6. Maintain good health with an active lifestyle and good, healthy, and nutritious food to maintain adequate immunity to fight off any severe infections.
  7. Take immunity boosters like green tea, multivitamins, or antioxidant-rich fruits.

How is the H2N3 Infection Treated?

Treating the symptoms or symptomatic treatment is vital for any influenza virus infection. 

The temperature is brought down by using antipyretics like paracetamol, which also double up on the body pain. Any runny nose or secretions are treated with cetirizine. Antibiotics may be started if the cough becomes productive or, in other words, if it becomes associated with yellow or green phlegm. Anti-cough syrups to break down any extra phlegm that may have accumulated in the chest. 

Use of antiviral medication like oseltamivir may be kept for more severe cases or patients with a higher chance of developing complications.

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