H3N2 influenza versus COVID-19: How to tell the difference?


A sudden surge in cold and flu cases in India has become a major source of concern. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) scientists have attributed these cases of persistent cough and fever to Influenza A subtype H3N2.

In general, seasonal influenza can be of 4 types – types A, B, C and D. Influenza A and B viruses circulate and cause seasonal epidemics of disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

With respect to the currently circulating H3N2 influenza and the rising cases of cough, cold and nausea across the country, the ICMR has advised against the indiscriminate use of antibiotics. The research institute recommends washing hands with soap and water, wearing masks, avoiding crowded places, covering mouth and nose while sneezing and coughing, avoiding touching eyes and nose, drinking plenty of fluids and taking paracetamol for fever and bodyache.

Also read: Possible reasons why your cough is not going away

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