There has been a significant surge in the cases of Covid-like symptoms across the country. Experts say it may be linked to H3N2 influenza, a seasonal influenza virus that causes respiratory illness in humans. It is a subtype of the influenza A virus (a communicable viral disease), which also includes H1N1 strains. H3N2 influenza is one of the most common strains of flu that circulates during the annual flu season, which occurs in the Northern Hemisphere during the fall and winter months.

H3N2 influenza is highly contagious and easily spreads via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks.

Most people recover without complications from H3N2 influenza within a few days to two weeks. Young children, the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions, however, may be at a higher risk of developing severe illness, such as pneumonia or other complications that necessitate hospitalization.

Difference between H3N2 influenza and COVID-19

While both H3N2 influenza and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses, they are caused by different viruses, with distinct symptoms, incubation periods, and severity levels. It is important to note that, while the two diseases differ, they both have the potential to cause serious illness and should be taken seriously.

There are several key differences between the two. Read on to find out more.

Viral Cause: 

H3N2 influenza is caused by the influenza A virus, while COVID-19 is caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.


The symptoms of H3N2 and COVID-19 can overlap, which can make it difficult to differentiate between the two illnesses without testing. Some of the common symptoms that both diseases share include:

·         Fever

·         Cough

·         Sore throat

·         Body aches

·         Fatigue

However, there are some symptoms that are more commonly associated with COVID-19, including:

·         Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

·         Loss of smell (anosmia) and lack of taste (ageusia)

·         Headache

·         Nausea or vomiting

·         Diarrhoea

On the other hand, some symptoms that are more commonly associated with H3N2 influenza include:

·         Runny or stuffy nose

·         Sneezing

·         Chills

It’s important to note that not everyone infected with H3N2 or COVID-19 will have all of these symptoms, and some people may not have any at all. Furthermore, some symptoms in one disease may be more severe than others, such as the severity of respiratory symptoms in COVID-19.

Incubation Period: 

The incubation period for H3N2 influenza is typically 1-4 days, with symptoms appearing within 2 days of infection.

The incubation period for COVID-19 is typically 2-14 days, with symptoms appearing within 5 days of infection on average.


H3N2 influenza and COVID-19 are spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. COVID-19 can also be spread through airborne transmission, particularly in poorly ventilated indoor spaces.


Both H3N2 influenza and COVID-19 can range from mild to severe, with the elderly and those with underlying health conditions at a higher risk of developing severe disease.

However, COVID-19 has been found to be more severe than H3N2 influenza, with a higher fatality rate and more severe respiratory symptoms.


H3N2 influenza can be treated with antiviral medications like oseltamivir or zanamivir, which can reduce the severity of symptoms and shorten the duration of illness.

Supportive care such as oxygen therapy, fluid management, and respiratory support can be provided to alleviate symptoms and improve outcomes. Vaccines are also available for both influenza and COVID-19 to prevent illness.


Vaccines are available for both diseases, but the vaccines for COVID-19 are newer and have different efficacy rates than the vaccines for H3N2 influenza. The flu vaccine is typically updated each year to provide protection against the most common strains of flu.

H3N2 Influenza vs Covid 19

Final Thoughts

With thousands of cases of H3N2 being reported across the country over the past few months, it is important to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of this virus.

This variant of influenza can be avoided by practising good hygiene, such as frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact with sick people, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and staying home when sick. Testing is the most accurate way to determine which illness someone is suffering from, and anyone experiencing symptoms should seek medical attention for evaluation and testing.

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