Health experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have identified the cause of a persistent cough accompanied by fever running through India for the past two to three months as Influenza A subtype H3N2. The subtype has been in wide circulation during this time, and it causes more hospitalisations than other subtypes.
The ICMR scientists have recommended a list of Dos and Don'ts to protect individuals from contracting the virus. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also advised against the indiscriminate use of antibiotics, which has been on the rise amid increasing cases of cough, cold and nausea across the country.
IMA committee on viral fever and cough
According to the IMA's Standing Committee for Anti-Microbial Resistance, seasonal fever lasts five to seven days, and while the fever goes away at the end of three days, the cough can persist for up to three weeks. Viral cases have surged due to air pollution, and the illness mostly occurs in people aged below 15 and above 50, causing upper respiratory infections along with fever.
Widespread use of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance: IMA
The IMA has asked doctors to prescribe only symptomatic treatment and not antibiotics, as widespread misuse of antibiotics, such as Amoxicillin, Norfloxacin, Oprofloxacin, Ofloxacin, and Levofloxacin, leads to antibiotic resistance.
During the Covid pandemic, Azithromycin and Ivermectin were also widely used, leading to resistance. The IMA emphasized the need to diagnose whether the infection is bacterial or not before prescribing antibiotics.
The surge in viral cases due to air pollution has become a significant concern in India. The country has been struggling to tackle air pollution for several years, and the situation has only worsened recently. The surge in cases of the H3N2 subtype of the flu and the increased use of antibiotics pose a significant threat to public health, and health experts are calling for a coordinated effort to address these issues.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)