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Viral Cases In India: How to Differentiate Between Symptoms Of COVID, H3N2 And Flu

Viral Cases In India: How to Differentiate Between Symptoms Of COVID, H3N2 And Flu

Amid a surge in viral cases, how to differentiate between H3N2, Covid-19, H1N1, common cold, and flu?

Written by Kinkini Gupta |Updated : March 18, 2023 9:15 AM IST

Viral infections are rising in India and recently their have been an uptick inCOVID-19 cases as well. Amidst the spread in so many diseases with similar symptoms, it is very difficult to differentiate the symptoms. Diseases like H3N2, COVID-19, flu, common cold and H1N1 have symptoms that are almost the same but their intensity is different.

Number Of Cases In India So Far

India has recorded 4,623 COVID-19 cases so far as per the Ministry of Health's latest data. Till the month of February, the number of H1N1 cases were about 955 reported from states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala and Punjab. Meanwhile, 451 cases of H3N2 variant cases have been reported from January 2 to March 5, 2023, according to the union ministry with 2 dead, each in Karnataka and Haryana. The latest case of H3N2 has been detected in Assam.

Understand The Difference

H1N1 virus was called swine flu earlier and it is very similar to influenza virus and it causes illness in pigs. During seasonal changes, the spread of flu and common cold is very common. But, it is also harmless. It comes and goes. Experts state that there are about 200-300 virus that can cause the symptoms of common cold. There are subtypes and variants in each of them. That is how the symptoms are almost the same but the severity might be different depending on the patients health. The majority of the common colds are caused by rhinoviruses, respiratory syncytial viruses, influenza type A and type B viruses, etc. Covid-19, on the other hand, is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is considered highly infectious.

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Common Symptoms

Common cold does not require any special treatment, it gets better after it runs its course. Similarly, respiratory illnesses that are mild also does not require special treatments. However, some patients might experience worse symptoms that might require special attention. In case of H3N2 virus, experts have stated that people with low immunity, co-morbidities and older people are at higher risk. COVID-19 is also more fatal for some people than others. Physical immunity has a lot to do with the severity of an infection. Here are some common symptoms: fever, body ache, fatigue, headache, cough, and sore throat.

Clinically, it is difficult to differentiate if it is COVID or flu. However, there are some features, which can help in differentiating, say experts.

  • H3N2 can cause hoarseness of voice, while in Covid-19, symptoms start with fever or stuffy nose.
  • Flu causes severe dry cough which lasts for a longer period than usual (up to 3 weeks).
  • In flu, body ache or myalgia is too much.

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