New Delhi: India is witnessing a bad bout of influenza, with patients showing high-grade fever and persistent cough lasting for about two weeks. Reports from various cities, especially the national capital region, show that the flu is aggressive and long-lasting with severe congestion.
According to experts, the cases pertain to the H3N2 variant of the Influenza A virus. According to data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), H3N2 has been widely circulated for the last two to three months.
“The typical symptoms include high-grade fever for two-three days, body ache and headache, throat irritation, and a majorly persistent cough lasting for two weeks,” Sushila Kataria, senior director of Internal Medicine at Medanta, was quoted by IANS in a report.
Primus Hospital, Chanakyapuri, also reported a 90 per cent patient surge in OPD cases with viral infections.
“Viral fever, cold and cough, and severe lung allergies like bronchitis are being reported majorly in patients visiting the hospital,” SK Chhabra, head of department – Pulmonary, Sleep and Critical Care Medicine, at Primus, said in a statement.
The higher transmission of the flu virus is being attributed to the current climatic conditions. Coupled with the changing weather, pollution is also pivotal in multiplying the number of patients impacted by viral infections.
Who is more vulnerable to this flu?
According to doctors, elderly people, children, and pregnant women are most vulnerable to getting infected.
The rise in the number of patients complaining of viral infections and chest congestion reflects how seasonal change is gravely impacting the health conditions of people. So, patients with asthma and those with severe lung infections have difficulty in breathing.
“Patients having chronic ailments like asthma have to be extra cautious during such weather transitions as it can trigger severe respiratory issues and asthma attacks. During this time, even a minor respiratory problem must be reported to a pulmonologist or a physician to reduce the risk of escalating the problem,” Chhabra added.
What should be done to stay safe?
According to experts, everyone must remain extra cautious while venturing outside. The doctors also suggested getting vaccinated against the flu, practising hand sanitation, and maintaining hydration to fight the virus. Some even suggested serological surveillance.
“Serological surveillance through established mechanisms in the public health system by the government is essential to determine the serotype of the virus and its endemic,” Salve told IANS.