With the change in seasons, many vector-borne illnesses are doing the rounds. Among them is the H3N2 Influenza viruses, whose symptoms are similar to those of seasonal flu viruses and can include fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough and runny nose. In addition, the infection may also trigger other symptoms such as body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. According to experts, the disease is particularly threatening for those with chronic illnesses such as asthma.
The virus is transmitted through large respiratory droplets created when people with the influenza virus cough or sneeze. Susceptible people can inhale these droplets within about six feet of the source. The virus also spreads through direct contact with infectious saliva or mucus and touching an infected person or object. People who have the flu are most contagious a day or so before symptoms start and for about four days after they begin. Children and people with weakened immune systems might be slightly more contagious.
Influenza can cause serious illness, including pneumonia, ear infections, and sinusitis. It is hazardous for vulnerable groups, including people 65 or older, pregnant women, and those with certain long-term health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, or a weakened immune system due to medications or treatments like chemotherapy.
How to deal with the virus
Most people who get the flu recover without complications. However, people with weakened immune systems may be at risk for severe illness, hospitalization, and even death. People with a high risk of serious complications from the virus should talk to their doctor about getting a vaccine and taking preventive steps. These include getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, managing stress, eating nutritious food, and using safe over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol for fever and pain.
People can protect themselves by avoiding crowds and limiting their exposure to sick people. They can also practice respiratory etiquette by covering their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and disposing of it immediately. In addition, they should wash their hands regularly with soap and water or use hand sanitizers and keep them clean.
They can also find out about plans their school, child care program, or work has if an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs and whether they provide routine cleaning of frequently-touched surfaces. It is essential to determine whether these places have adequate supplies of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs, or wipes.