Two different viruses are currently spreading rapidly

A few months ago, we were only concerned about the COVID variants caused by the coronavirus. However, in recent days, a new virus has emerged and has posed a greater threat to human health.

We discuss the H3N2 seasonal influenza A virus and the recent XBB 1.16 variant of the COVID virus. Both viruses are currently dominant.

Are they the same?

No. Although their modus operandi may seem similar to us due to the similar symptoms of infected people, these are different viruses and therefore need to be treated differently.

H3N2 is a common virus that causes seasonal flu. It is not a new virus, although it has mutated into several strains. It is a subtype of the influenza A virus.

XBB is a recombinant strain of COVID that causes the coronavirus. XBB is a recombinant of the BA.2.10.1 and BA.2.75 sublines, both of which are subvariants of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. From 2019 until now, the new coronavirus has mutated into several strains, the dominant one being Omicron. XBB 1.16 is a conversion of the XBB version.


How does a COVID XBB infection differ from an H3N2 infection?

Although the infections cannot be clearly distinguished when you see the symptoms, a medical test can help you differentiate between the two.

Symptoms such as wheezing, cough, high fever and clinical signs of pneumonia are typical features of H3N2 infection.

Classic symptoms of COVID include headache, body aches, fatigue, sore throat, and runny or stuffy nose.

What should people be aware of?

Since both viruses spread massively in the country and are difficult to distinguish from each other, it is important to get tested whenever signs are observed.

In addition to medical tests, hygiene instructions must be followed to curb the spread of viruses. Both viruses are spread from an infected person to a healthy person through direct exposure, physical contact, contact with airborne droplets released from the nose and mouth.

Staying in isolation until symptoms are completely gone is the key to breaking the chain of transmission of these viruses.

How to prevent these infections?

Wearing masks in public places can reduce the transmission of viruses from an infected person to a healthy person.

In addition to this, keeping your hands clean and disinfecting before touching your face is key to keeping your body safe from the virus. You should also avoid touching bare surfaces in public places and frequently visited places in the home should be cleaned at regular intervals.

If there are children or elderly people in our house, make sure that the indoor air is properly circulated.

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