Influenza H3N2 identified as cause of persistent cough and fever in India
Influenza A subtype H3N2 has been identified as the cause of a persistent cough and fever that has been spreading across India for the past two to three months. According to experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the H3N2 subtype has been in circulation and is causing more hospitalizations than other subtypes.
The ICMR has been keeping a close watch on ailments caused by respiratory viruses through the Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratories network. Scientists are recommending people to follow a list of Dos and Don’ts to protect themselves from contracting the virus.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has cautioned against the indiscriminate use of antibiotics amid rising cases of cough, cold, and nausea, symptoms of Influenza in the country. The IMA has also warned that viral cases have surged due to air pollution and mostly affect people below the age of 15 and above 50.
According to the IMA, the seasonal fever will last five to seven days, but the cough can persist for up to three weeks. The IMA’s Standing Committee for Anti-Microbial Resistance has advised doctors to prescribe only symptomatic treatment and not antibiotics.
IMA warns against indiscriminate use of antibiotics amid rising cases of cough, cold, and nausea
“Right now, people start taking antibiotics like Azithromycin and Amoxiclav etc, that too without caring for done and frequency and stop it once start feeling better. This needs to be stopped as it leads to antibiotic resistance. Whenever there will be a real use of antibiotics, they will not work due to the resistance,” the IMA said in a statement. The most misused antibiotics are Amoxicillin, Norfloxacin, Oprofloxacin, Ofloxacin and Levofloxacin. These are being used for the treatment of diarrhoea and UTI, it added.
Instead, physicians should practice “self-control” and “regulation”, and apply medical therapy that affects the symptoms in question. Good hand and respiratory hygiene, avoiding crowded places and taking vaccines is further recommended by the IMA.
“It is necessary to diagnose whether the infection is bacterial or not before prescribing antibiotics,” the association noted.
Air pollution is known to cause respiratory problems and exacerbate pre-existing conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, influenza and emphysema. It is therefore important to take precautions to protect oneself from pollution. Some simple steps that can be taken include wearing a mask, avoiding going outdoors during peak pollution hours, and using air purifiers at home and in the workplace.
The IMA has also recommended some home remedies to alleviate symptoms of cough and cold or Influenza. These include drinking warm water with honey, ginger, and lemon; consuming hot soups and broths; and inhaling steam with eucalyptus oil. These remedies are not a substitute for medical treatment, and anyone experiencing severe symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.
It is essential to take precautions to prevent the spread of the influenza virus, such as washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, covering the mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
In conclusion, the H3N2 subtype of Influenza A has been identified as the cause of a persistent cough and fever spreading across India for the past two to three months. The ICMR and the IMA have issued warnings and guidelines to protect against the virus, including precautions to take against air pollution and the indiscriminate use of antibiotics. It is important to follow these guidelines and take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.