Chennai Hospitals Overwhelmed with Influenza Cases This Monsoon

Chennai is currently facing a sudden surge in the influenza virus. Hospitals are struggling to cope with the increasing number of patients.
Influenza is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It is transmitted through direct contact with infected people or through contaminated surfaces
(Image Source: Wikimedia commons)
Influenza is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It is transmitted through direct contact with infected people or through contaminated surfaces (Image Source: Wikimedia commons)

Tamil Nadu: Chennai is currently facing a sudden surge in the influenza virus. Hospitals are struggling to cope with the increasing number of patients. The sudden increase in influenza cases this monsoon, especially in October and November, has increased the spread of the virus.

According to Dr. T. S Selvavinayagam, the director of public health, similar to previous years, there has been a rise in the number of fever cases, respiratory problems, and diseases transmitted by vectors such as dengue. 

Dr. S. Raju, Public Health Lab Chief, stated that an increase in respiratory ailments caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and rhinovirus has been identified by the public health laboratory, and sporadic cases of dengue and, rarely, COVID-19 have been detected.

Blood serum samples of 300 individuals who had a cold, fever, and body pain were taken. Influenza A was found in nearly half of the samples. The predominant strains identified in these samples were H3N2, which causes the common cold, and H1N1, commonly known as swine flu.

Blood serum samples of 300 individuals who had a cold, fever, and body pain were taken. Influenza A was found in nearly half of the samples
(Representational Image: Wikimedia commons)
Blood serum samples of 300 individuals who had a cold, fever, and body pain were taken. Influenza A was found in nearly half of the samples (Representational Image: Wikimedia commons)

Influenza is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It is transmitted through direct contact with infected people or through contaminated surfaces. People with the influenza virus have common symptoms such as fever, cough, and body pain.

Influenza is categorized into Types A, B, C, and D. We will see symptoms and treatment for each category in detail.

Influenza A:

Symptoms:

It includes mild cases of the common cold with symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, body pain, and tiredness. Most people with this type recover within a week without any further complications.

Treatment:

Symptomatic treatment is required for this category of infection. Over-the-counter medications like Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, and antihistamines can help to manage symptoms. Drinking plenty of water and resting can also help you recover earlier.

Influenza B:

Symptoms:

This virus is found in people under the age of 5, elderly individuals, pregnant women, and people with poor immune systems. Along with fever, sore throat, and cough, they have diarrhea and vomiting. It may lead to complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus infections. People with systemic conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease are at higher risk of developing complications.

Treatment:

Antiviral medications can help shorten the duration of symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Some of the antiviral medications include oseltamivir (Tamiflu), zanamivir (Relenza), and peramivir (Rybivir), along with broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Influenza C:

Symptoms:

Life-threatening complications such as pneumonia, respiratory failure, and multi-organ failure may occur. People may experience symptoms such as a high fever, cough, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing. Complications such as sepsis, meningitis, and encephalitis can occur, especially in people with poor immune systems. Children and the elderly are at higher risk.

Treatment:

Hospitalization and supportive care should be provided, along with the administration of oseltamivir and broad-spectrum antibiotics. In more severe cases, mechanical ventilation is used to manage patients with severe difficulty breathing.

Influenza D

Influenza D usually affects animals, especially cattle. This type of virus hasn’t affected humans. No treatment has been discovered for the Influenza D-type virus until now.

(Input from various media sources)

References:

1) https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/advanced-reading-types-of-flu-viruses

2) https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/types.htm

(Rehash/Rohini Devi)

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