H3N2 Prevention Strategies: Tips to Stay Safe During Flu Season in India

Changing climate, modified lifestyles, and evolutionary changes in immunity have caused an increase in vulnerability to diseases over time. People have been more prone to diseases than in previous decades, which can be attributed to various reasons. This increased vulnerability is mainly reflected in infectious diseases that spread via air, water, and droplets. Increased population density has also accounted for easier transmission and spreading of such contagious diseases. This is why preventive measures or adapting prophylactic measures before exposure are nowadays necessary. H3N2, a variant of the Influenza A virus, is a contagious disease that usually has a history of seasonal havoc around the globe.

This influenza variant has caused widespread infection and recurrent outbreaks around a particular time of the year. Flu caused by the H3N2 strain of influenza A has reportedly been more infective and resulted in a comparatively severe flu season.

Causes And Modes of Transmission

The H3N2 virus is primarily an influenza virus circulated in pigs in early 2010. However, later in 2011, it was found that this non-human influenza virus could infect humans when several people were tested for the same. The flu caused by the H3N2 strain is severe but not as severe as that caused by H1N1 infections.

Coughing or sneezing by an infected pig can cause the release of potentially infective particles in the form of aerosols. When another pig comes in contact with these particles, they get infected. When a human comes in contact with it, the particles can interact with the mucosa of the person’s respiratory tract, marking a path for the infection. Once the particles reach the lungs, the patient can express various symptoms outside.

The easy spread of the condition has also led to an epidemic outbreak between January and March 2023 in India.

Risk Factors

The major risk factors that increase your vulnerability to the H3N2 viral infection include:

  • Children of an age group below 5 years old.
  • Immunocompromised or immunosuppressed individuals.
  • Pregnant mothers
  • People belonging to an age group of above 65 years.
  • Individuals with underlying health conditions like asthma, chronic lung disease, and heart disease.
  • Health workers, due to exposure to infected individuals.
  • People at care homes and nursing facilities.
  • People working in animal farms, especially those involved in pig farming.

Preventive Strategies to Avoid H3N2 Flu

Taking necessary precautions is required to prevent oneself from being infected. This can also help to decelerate the spread of the virus. The most commonly recommended preventive strategies for H3N2 virus infection to adopt, especially among the Indian population, include:

  • Avoiding close contact with infected individuals. Both direct and passive contact should be avoided.
  • Avoid touching surfaces where infectious particles thrive.
  • Always wash your hands. Washing hands for 20 seconds can help prevent someone from getting infected by the H3N2 flu virus that could have somehow soiled your hands. Washing hands for a specific period can help prevent the infectious agent from spreading further.
  • Always use masks whenever going outside, irrespective of the expecting crowd.
  • If suspectingImagean exposure, immediately bathe well after reaching home. Isolate yourself from others. Also, make sure your clothing and commonly touched personal belongings are disinfected.
  • If any member of your family has tested positive, please isolate them. Disinfect all the suspected soiled items in your housing.
  • Avoid intake of Ham, meat, or pork.
  • Avoid touching your nose and eyes whenever travelling outside.
  • Try to avoid attending and conducting large gatherings.
  • Avoid traveling to areas of increased incidence.
  • Upon doubt of the expression of any symptoms, refer to your nearest hospital as soon as possible.
  • If you have any pets at home, ensure they are also not being exposed to contamination.
  • Maintain a safe and physical distance whenever at a marketplace, workplace, or other place with a comparatively dense gathering presence.
  • Always make sure to sanitize your hands after touching any door knobs or countertops.
  • Try using cash-free payment methods with vendors and at all kinds of marketplaces to avoid coming in contact with infective particles soiled to currency notes and coins.
  • These are among the main objects that circulate among a large number of people and are capable of acting as indirect carriers.

When to See a Doctor

Being an airborne or droplet infection, this H3N2 flu has a fast-spreading rate. An infection causes you to express symptoms for at least 5-7 days. It can extend further to more days unless appropriately treated. If left untreated, the condition can worsen and become lethal.

The symptoms that necessitate you to get consulted by a doctor as soon as possible include:

  • Headache
  • Exhaustion
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Cough that has no mucus production or expectoration
  • Minor congestion
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

However, symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea are very uncommon and usually found among children. If you express any of the above symptoms, get to your nearest hospital for diagnosis and treatment at the earliest.

Antiviral medication after 48 hours of infection can have very little to no effect. This further necessitates the need for early detection and consultation with your doctor.

Leaving a case of H3N2 viral infection untreated can result in complications such as:

  • The occurrence of convulsions or seizures,
  • Vomiting,
  • Cyanosis or bluish discoloration of lips and face,
  • Wheezing and other breathing difficulties, etc.

Diagnosing the Condition

A complete diagnosis cannot be made ultimately or solely based on the symptoms alone. The diagnosis requires a physical examination, interrogation of the potential symptoms you experience, and finally, a swab examination by collecting samples from your throat or nose.

Usually, an RT PCR test is performed for the same. Other diagnostic aid includes the Influenza panel test by extracting blood samples.

The Bottom Line

H3N2 viral infection is highly contagious, with extensive complications when left untreated or improperly treated. Staying alert of any chances of exposure is recommended to avoid getting infected. Following precautionary measures and the earliest treatment with proper attention and care can help prevent infection and further catastrophe.

Get tested at Apollo Diagnostics to know your flu risk. Our panels and RT PCR tests help detect H3N2 viral infection early. Visit your nearest branch or book a home sample collection to safeguard your health this season.


How does an infection of H3N2 seen in pigs infect human beings?

H3N2 is a variant strain of influenza A virus that causes infections, primarily in pigs. Upon exposure to aerosol released from the coughing and sneezing of pigs, the human body can get infected. This is because the strain poses a zoonotic disease potential, which can transmit an infection from one species to another.

What precautions should pregnant women in India take against H3N2?

Pregnant women are at higher risk for H3N2 flu complications. Avoiding crowded places, wearing masks in public areas, regular hand washing, and getting an H3N2 test done promptly at the first signs of flu are strongly recommended. These preventive strategies for H3N2 virus infection protect both the mother and fetus.

Why are home remedies and at-home treatment not enough to treat H3N2 flu?

H3N2 flu is a viral infection caused by a virus of non-human origin. Proper antiviral medication therapy, within 48 hours, is highly necessary to prevent the potential progress and damage by the virus.

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