H3N2 and H1N1 viruses are both strains of the influenza A virus that can cause seasonal flu in humans. In India, the flu keeps on happening from September to March. Lately, the cases have increased and it has turned out to be dangerous. With the rising cases of Covid and the weak immunity of people, these viral infectious have turned out to be even more alarming. While they have many common symptoms, they can leave an impact on your body and mind in very different ways. So it is important to know the difference between them to diagnose and get the right treatment. Here are the differences in symptoms and treatment of H3N2 and H1N1 viruses.
H3N2 and H1N1 Virus Differences
Origin: H1N1 is known as the "swine flu" because it originally emerged in pigs and was transmitted to humans. H3N2, on the other hand, is believed to have originated in birds and was later transmitted to humans.
Age groups affected: H1N1 tends to affect younger people, while H3N2 is more common in older adults. However, the current spread of H3N2 is commonly seen in younger populations also, so probably an important mutation has taken place this year.
Symptoms: While the symptoms of both strains can be similar, H1N1 has been associated with more severe respiratory symptoms, such as cough and shortness of breath, as well as gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. H3N2, on the other hand, may cause more severe muscle aches and fever.
Vaccine effectiveness: Both strains are included in the seasonal flu vaccine, but the effectiveness of the vaccine may vary from year to year. In some years, the vaccine may provide better protection against one strain compared to the other.
It's important to note that both strains can cause serious illness and complications, especially in people with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems. Vaccination is one of the best ways to protect against the flu and its complications, regardless of the specific strain that is circulating.
Another important feature that we should keep in mind is that H1N1 and H3N2 both can be fatal if immunity is compromised, especially in uncontrolled diabetes and those who have undergone an organ transplant. School-going kids need special precautions because influenza and all its variants are important causes of mortality in those under 5 years of age. Also, since school kids do not usually take precautions while coughing or sneezing, they are at risk of spreading the infection to their elder grandparents faster.
Note: Both variants should not be treated with steroids or antibiotics
(This article is attributed to Dr. Ravi Shekhar Jha, Director and Unit Head Pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Faridabad)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of India TV)