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H3N2 influenza is one of the most virulent strains and has caused several epidemics and pandemics worldwide. While the respiratory symptoms of H3N2 are well known, recent research has revealed that the virus can also have serious side effects on kidney health. Influenza viruses, including H3N2, primarily affect the respiratory system, causing symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, and body aches. In this article, Dr Shovna Veshnavi, Consultant, Department of Internal Medicine, Jaypee Hospital, will share the side effects of the H3N2 virus on the kidney.
Research has shown that H3N2 influenza can lead to kidney injury, which can range from mild to severe. In severe cases, the virus can cause acute kidney injury (AKI), a sudden loss of kidney function that can be life-threatening. AKI is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. The study analysed data from over 6,000 hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza and found that patients with H3N2 were more likely to develop AKI than those with other virus strains.
Another research in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases found that H3N2 influenza was associated with a higher risk of hospitalization and death in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). This does not let kidneys function properly, making patients more vulnerable to infections and other health complications. The exact mechanism of H3N2 influenza affecting kidney health is not fully understood. However, it is believed that the virus can cause kidney inflammation, leading to kidney injury. In some cases, inflammation can become excessive and cause damage to organs such as the kidneys.
Symptoms of kidney injury from H3N2 influenza can include decreased urine output, swelling in the legs or feet, nausea and vomiting, and shortness of breath. In severe cases, patients may require dialysis, a medical procedure that filters the blood when the kidneys cannot do so.
Prevention is vital when it comes to protecting kidney health from H3N2 influenza. The best way to prevent influenza infection is by getting vaccinated annually. The influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone over six months and is especially important for individuals with chronic medical conditions such as CKD. In addition to vaccination, practising good hygiene can help prevent transmission. This includes washing hands frequently, avoiding close contact with sick individuals, and covering the nose and mouth when feeling ill.
H3N2 influenza is a severe respiratory illness that can have serious side effects on kidney health. The virus can cause kidney inflammation, leading to acute kidney injury in extreme cases. Patients with chronic kidney disease are particularly vulnerable to the complications of H3N2 influenza and should take extra precautions to prevent infection, such as annual vaccination and good hygiene practices. If you experience symptoms of kidney injury, seek medical attention immediately.