How H3N2 Influenza Can Lead To Acute Kidney Failure In High-Risk Patients

Source: Business Standard

After COVID-19, H3N2 influenza cases are on the rise across the country, and the virus has already killed two people in India. H3N2 flu is typically mild, but high-risk individuals are susceptible to severe illness. The virus is causing a rise in ICU cases in infants and children below the age of 5, with many of them reporting breathlessness, cough, fever, and pneumonia-like symptoms. Furthermore, experts warn that H3N2 influenza can seriously damage kidneys, especially in the elderly and those who already suffer from chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, heart issues, or kidney disease.

H3N2 influenza is a subtype of the influenza virus that is commonly responsible for seasonal flu outbreaks. It is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing, or even talking. The symptoms of H3N2 influenza are similar to those of the common cold, but they tend to be more severe and can lead to complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and other respiratory infections.

The virus can also cause severe illness in vulnerable groups, including the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems or underlying health conditions.  The symptoms of a severe illness can include shortness of breath, severe vomiting, dehydration, low blood pressure, bluish lips, seizures or convulsions, confusion, chest pain, and low oxygen saturation.

Source: Mount Sinai

One of the most concerning aspects of H3N2 influenza is its impact on the kidneys. According to Dr. Saurabh Joshi, a senior consultant and head of urology, uro-oncology, and kidney transplant at Accord Hospital in Faridabad, Delhi NCR, 30% of severely ill flu patients may experience acute kidney failure. Elderly patients and those who already suffer from any chronic illness such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease, or chronic kidney disease constitute the highest risk group. Dialysis and post-kidney transplant patients are even more prone to further kidney damage induced by influenza infections, which can lead to secondary bacterial pneumonias and multi-organ complications, including heart failure. These patients are immunologically vulnerable and at higher risk of mortality as compared to the general population.

To prevent the spread of H3N2 influenza, it is essential to take COVID-like measures such as wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and following social distancing guidelines. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that individuals with CKD or on dialysis and post-kidney transplant patients receive annual influenza vaccinations and regular kidney specialist doctor visits to avoid serious complications.

Influenza vaccination is an effective way to prevent the spread of H3N2 influenza and reduce the risk of severe illness, especially in vulnerable groups. The influenza vaccine works by triggering the body’s immune system to produce antibodies that can fight off the virus. While the vaccine may not offer complete protection, it can significantly reduce the severity and duration of the illness, as well as the risk of complications.

Source: KSHVID

It is essential to remember that influenza vaccination is safe and effective, and the benefits outweigh the risks. The vaccine is tested rigorously for safety and efficacy before it is approved for use, and the side effects are usually mild and temporary, such as soreness or redness at the injection site, fever, or headache.

In conclusion, the recent rise in H3N2 influenza cases after the COVID-19 pandemic is a cause for concern. While the virus is known to cause mild illness, vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions are at risk of severe illness and even death. It is important to take COVID-like measures, such as wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and maintaining social distance, to curb the spread of the virus. Additionally, the influenza vaccination can help protect individuals with chronic kidney disease, hypertension, diabetes, and those who have undergone a kidney transplant or dialysis from serious complications. It is crucial that authorities extend the influenza vaccination program to individuals with pre-existing renal conditions to safeguard the health of the vulnerable population. Overall, it is important to remain cautious and take preventive measures to protect oneself and others from H3N2 influenza.

Source: Hindustan Times


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