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Thursday Thunder: H3N2 In India + Long COVID Stomach Issues

Woman with belly ache due to constipation, one of multiple long COVID stomach issues one can experience according to a recent study.

Over the last few months, we’ve shown you that several previously common diseases are making a comeback. Meanwhile, as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more is being understood about COVID and its long-term effects.

India made headlines earlier this week when two fatal cases were reported from the H3N2 flu strain. Plus, a recent study has linked long COVID to gastrointestinal problems.

In today’s report, we’ll tell you all about India’s current situation and the latest findings on COVID. Let’s get started.

H3N2 Flu in India Leaves Two Fatal Cases

India’s history with the flu dates back a long way, the first flu outbreak was reported in 1918. But it’s safe to say that the flu in India hasn’t received this much attention from the press or travelers in quite some time.

So, what is going on?

Recent reports indicate a significant surge in flu patients at hospitals in Delhi, attributed to the H3N2 strain of the virus. The rise in cases has also led to a notable increase in ICU admissions, particularly among the elderly and children. Tragically, the virus has claimed two lives in the past week.

But what is H3N2? H3N2 flu is a strain of influenza. Influenza viruses are classified into four types: A, B, C, and D, with H3N2 being a subtype of Influenza A.

The recent surge in H3N2, as with other illnesses, is believed to be linked to the loosening of pandemic measures. Dr. Rajkumar, who is a senior consultant in internal medicine at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, has stated that widespread mask usage may have resulted in insufficient antibodies to combat the virus.

With a decrease in mask use, the virus is now spreading, posing a particular risk to individuals with compromised immune systems.

Should You Worry?

As to whether you should be concerned or not, the best thing you can do is to be aware of the H3N2 symptoms and take the usual preventive measures for flu.

The symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Bodyache
  • Long-lasting cough (widely reported by patients)

Additionally, the recent flu outbreak in India shouldn’t affect your travel plans as no travel restrictions were announced.

However, the Indian government took the following measures:

  • All schools in Puducherry will remain shut from 16 March (Thursday) to 26 March (Sunday) due to the reported cases of influenza.
  • The Union government has asked states to increase surveillance following the surge in influenza cases.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued an advisory asking people to avoid self-medication and the use of antibiotics in case of contracting the virus.

Long COVID Patients ‘More Likely to Have Gastrointestinal Problems’

Following the pandemic years, there has been an increase in Internet searches related to COVID symptoms. You may have seen medical blog posts or news mentions such as:

  • “COVID-19 and diarrhea”
  • “COVID and constipation”
  • “Acid reflux and COVID”

If you are a long COVID patient who has experienced these symptoms, it is important to keep in mind that long COVID stomach issues are a reality and a recent study has shown why.

The study conducted on COVID-19 patients has found that they are more likely to suffer from gastrointestinal problems than people who haven’t contracted the virus.

The study examined the medical records of over 150,000 COVID-19 patients who received treatment from the Veterans Health Administration system. Scientists compared those records to over 5 million patients of similar age and characteristics who did not contract the virus.

Researchers found a significant association between COVID-19 and gastrointestinal symptoms. Long Covid patients were 36% more likely to have gastrointestinal problems. Acid-related disorders were the most commonly identified, affecting over 2,600 patients.

Why Does Long COVID Cause Stomach Issues?

According to Ziyad Al-Aly, head of the V.A. St. Louis Health Care System’s research and development division, long COVID causes some dysregulation, which leads to acid imbalances.

In addition, stress caused by the experience of long COVID could also produce “ intestinal manifestations”, he explained to the New York Times.

So if you’re experiencing any of these stomach issues after COVID:

  • Acid reflux disease
  • Constipation
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Stomach pain

You may be suffering from post-COVID stomach issues.

Luckily, gastrointestinal symptoms are treatable and more easily identified than other possible long COVID symptoms.

Key Takeaways

As time goes on, we continue to value the importance of long-term studies on the effects of COVID-19 on our lives. Additionally, it’s important to note that the recent H3N2 flu outbreak shouldn’t significantly affect your travel plans. Simply take necessary precautions and be aware of flu symptoms.

Ultimately, being a mindful traveler entails staying up-to-date with potential health risks and taking appropriate measures to protect yourself.

Want to get tested before you embark on your next adventure? Discover COVID testing centers near you with our international directory.

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