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Lung Lesions In H3N2

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H3N2 is a viral strain, which is a subtype of influenza virus and commonly affects the lungs. Read the article to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Published At March 13, 2023
Reviewed AtMarch 17, 2023

Introduction

Viruses are infectious agents that could affect an individual and cause reversible and irreversible damage to the human system. There are different types of viruses that cause a range of diseases like common cold, flu, and hepatitis (liver inflammation). These viruses spread through different modes like respiratory droplets, sexual contact, blood, and from one person to another. The evolution of modern medicine has helped combat the infections caused by viruses with the development of antiviral drugs.

For example, H3N2 is a viral strain that primarily affects the lungs causing infection and inflammation. The virus could lead to different types of lung diseases like pneumonia and may cause permanent lung damage if not diagnosed in the initial stages.

The damage caused by these virus may decrease the lung capacity of an individual, causing breathing difficulty and shortness of breath. Most of the lung conditions caused by the virus cannot be cured completely, however, treating the symptoms can restrict the disease progression and improve lung health of an individual. Hence, proper understanding about H3N2 viral strains, the lung diseases caused by it and its implications in overall health can help with prompt treatment.

What Is H3N2?

H3N2 is a type of non-human influenza virus, which is endemic to pigs and has the potential to affect humans. The H and N represent the surface proteins hemagglutinin and neuraminidase respectively. It is a subtype of influenza A virus, and causes respiratory illness in humans. The virus infects the lungs and causes a wide range of lung lesions which could be harmful.

How Does H3N2 Transmit From Pigs to Humans?

The virus from the affected pigs to humans may spread through pig coughs or sneezes. These droplets carry potent virus which spread through contact or atmosphere and inhaled by any individual. Once infected causes damage to the respiratory system, specifically the lungs. There has also been little evidence of patients acquiring the virus by touching particles that are contaminated by the virus.

What Are the Symptoms of H3N2?

Similar to any influenza virus which primarily affects the lungs, H3N2 also has a few common symptoms, which are mentioned below:

What Are the Lung Lesions Occurring in H3N2?

Some of the lung lesions associated with H3N2 are mentioned below:

Acute Bronchitis: The inflammation of bronchial tubes is called acute bronchitis. It develops as a result of bacterial and viral infection.

Some of the common symptoms occurring in this disease include chest discomfort, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The symptoms usually begin to develop within a few days of exposure to the virus and may last for several weeks. Most acute bronchitis resolves on their own, however some may need medication.

The treatment for the condition involves complete rest, hydration, and symptomatic relief from cough. In addition, pain killers may also be prescribed to help alleviate symptoms.

Pulmonary Fibrosis: In pulmonary fibrosis, there is scarring of lung tissues, which is due to excess fibrous tissue. This hinders the oxygen movement through the lungs and the bloodstream. There are various types of pulmonary fibrosis, which could occur due to environmental and genetic factors.

The symptoms may depend on the degree of scarring. Shortness of breath, dry cough, fatigue or tiredness, and weight loss are frequently observed in these patients.

There is no cure for this condition, however managing the disease can help with disease progression. Medications like corticosteroids and immunosuppressants are helpful.

Pneumonia: This condition may affect one or both lungs, and is due to a variety of microorganisms. The symptoms of pneumonia may vary with each individual and depending on the type of infection.

Symptoms like fever, cough, and chest pain are commonly observed. The treatment involves a combination of antibiotics and supportive care for symptom management. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required for individuals with higher complications.

Preventive measures like vaccines and practicing good hygiene can prevent the infection. People with existing lung diseases like asthma are highly prone to develop pneumonia.

Diffuse Alveolar Damage: It causes lung injury that could be due to various viral or bacterial infections. It is characterized by damage to the air sacs in the lungs which are commonly called alveoli. The damage could lead to inflammation and fluid accumulation. In addition, there could be impaired gas exchange, leading to respiratory failure.

The symptoms of the condition include rapid breathing and chest discomfort.

Treatment involves maintaining adequate oxygenation and mechanical ventilation. Other medications like corticosteroids and immunomodulators help reduce inflammation and improve lung function.

Who Is at Higher Risk for Developing H3N2?

Individuals who are commonly affected by flu are at a higher risk of complications if affected with H3N2. Children younger than five years and people over 65 years are also affected. However, certain groups are at higher risk of developing severe complications due to this condition.

  • Pregnant women are at higher risk of developing the condition, because during pregnancy, the immune system may weaken and increase the risk of respiratory illness.

  • People with underlying medical conditions like diabetes, asthma, and heart diseases are at a higher risk of acquiring complications.

  • Healthcare workers who are constantly exposed to patients with respiratory illness are highly likely to be affected by this condition.

  • Children less than two years of age have a higher risk of developing influenza, as their immune system is still developing.

Is H3N2 Dangerous?

The H3N2 strain can cause respiratory illness and can be dangerous for medically compromised individuals. Most cases the virus can cause mild-to-moderate symptoms like fever, sore throat, coughing, and shortness of breath. This can be managed with supportive care and medications.

Is There a Vaccine for H3N2?

There are a few vaccines available to treat H3N2 influenza virus. These vaccines help protect against multiple strains of influenza. The effectiveness of the vaccine may vary with each year. Vaccinating every year can help protect against the virus.

Conclusion

H3N2 viral strain is a derivative of influenza virus, subtype A. It primarily affects the lungs and causes damage to the airways. This may affect the exchange of gases within the lungs causing suffocation. Treating the symptoms can improve the condition and aid in quality living.

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Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar
Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors)

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