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H3N2v Influenza - Treatment and Prevention

Published on Mar 10, 2023   -  5 min read


Management and prevention of an Influenza A virus variant include various treatment options and measures. The below article details the same.


The influenza virus causes infection of the lungs, nose, and throat, mostly the respiratory system. The most common cause of the infectious disease is the influenza virus, especially the influenza A virus variant that causes seasonal epidemics and may also occur throughout the year. Flu caused by the H3N2 virus was first identified in humans in July 2011. There were multiple outbreaks after that and have evidently been detected since that time. Common symptoms of the H3N2 virus include a runny nose, sore throat, body aches, fever, and chills. The laboratory tests help the clinician confirm the diagnosis. This article discusses the treatment and prevention methods for the Influenza A virus variant (H3N2) in detail.

How Is H3N2v Influenza Treated?

Treatment for flu with the H3N2 virus involves primarily providing relief from the symptoms. Most cases of flu have milder symptoms and do not require any medical attention or anti-viral medications.

1) Primary Care:

In cases with milder illnesses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends staying home and taking necessary measures to manage the symptoms. Until fever subsides, the patients are advised to not attend any public gatherings such as school, work, or social events, travel, and to keep their distance from others as much as possible. Primary care to manage the symptoms of the influenza A virus variant includes:

  • Patients are advised to drink plenty of fluids and get enough rest.

  • Salt water gargling by combining a cup of warm water and salt can help with relieving the pain from sore throat.

  • The doctor may prescribe decongestants in patients with sinus or nasal congestion. They come in oral or nasal spray forms and help in reducing the swelling of the nasal passages. However, they are advised to be taken only for a few days.

  • In patients with cough, the clinician may prescribe cough medications in a combination of antihistamines, decongestants, cough suppressants, analgesics, and expectorants.

  • The patient may take over-the-counter medications such as Acetaminophen, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce body temperature in fever and to treat body aches and headaches.

Some individuals are at higher risk of developing various complications of the flu, they are advised to immediately check with their physician as soon as they suspect flu. They include the following groups:

  • People above 65 years of age.

  • Pregnant women.

  • Young children under the age of two.

  • People with chronic medical conditions such as cardiac failure, kidney diseases, asthma, and diabetes.

  • People with a history of stroke.

  • People with a history of a weakened immune system due to diseases such as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and AIDS (acquired immuno deficiency syndrome).

2) Anti-viral Drugs:

  • Anti-viral drugs are used in treating the H3N2 virus, they are available in pills, liquid form, inhalation powder, or as an intravenous solution.

  • CDC recommends immediate treatment with anti-viral drugs in suspected patients with a higher risk of complications such as the ones mentioned above and in patients with severe symptoms for more than two days.

  • They should be started within 48 hours of confirming the diagnosis. If the anti-viral drugs are taken earlier without delay, they bring down fever and symptoms and prevent further complications of the flu.

  • Anti-viral drugs prevent various complications such as ear infections in kids, respiratory complications, and hospitalization in adults.

  • Currently, the most recommended anti-viral drug in treating the H3N2 virus is Oseltamivir and Zanamivir.

  • A. Oseltamivir: Anti-viral drug which comes under the group of neuraminidase inhibitors. It comes in capsule and liquid form taken via the oral route. They are usually taken twice a day for five days. This drug works by ceasing the spread of the virus in the body.

  • B. Zanamivir: This antiviral drug also comes under the group of neuraminidase inhibitors. They are prescribed for adults and children of age seven years and older. They help in relieving the symptoms of the flu. They come in powder form which is inhaled through the mouth. They are taken two times a day for five days.

How Can H3N2v Influenza Be Prevented?

CDC recommends the following measures to prevent H3N2 virus influenza.

High-Risk Individuals:

  • Above mentioned people with a higher risk of flu complications are advised to avoid contact with pigs and are advised to wear a mask to prevent the spread of flu viruses from the pigs.

  • These people are advised to wash their hands properly with soap or alcohol-based hand rub before and after exposure to pigs.

  • They are advised to avoid visiting the agricultural fairs with pigs or a swine farm.

In General Population:

  • One of the effective ways to prevent H3N2 virus influenza is to get vaccines every year. It is vital to get it every year since they tend to mutate (change in form). These vaccines train the immune system to identify the virus and defense against them.

  • Wash hands frequently, especially prior to taking a meal and afterward and after using the washroom.

  • Wash hands properly with soap and water.

  • People who are suspected of having influenza are advised to use a well-fitting mask and to avoid contact with others.

  • People are advised to cover their noses and mouth while coughing or sneezing.

  • Contact with pigs should be avoided.

  • People are advised to avoid intake of food in pig barns or arenas.

  • People are asked to avoid contact with people who are already infected with the influenza virus.

  • People are advised to use protective clothing, gloves, or masks when coming in contact with pigs.

  • It is recommended to avoid using baby bottles and pacifiers while in a pig barn or arena.

  • Clean and disinfect areas that might be contaminated with viruses.

  • If influenza is suspected, it is better to consult the clinician immediately.


Influenza A variant virus (H3N2) was initially identified in pigs and it is a contagious virus that can spread from an infected pig to humans. They are aerosol contagions, spread through infected droplets from coughing or sneezing. Most cases have milder symptoms and require no medical attention. People with a higher risk of flu complications are advised to consult their clinician immediately. However, the best way to prevent Influenza with H3N3 is to get vaccinated every year.

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Last reviewed at:
10 Mar 2023  -  5 min read




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