Monday 16 July 2018

What is Conor McGregor’s Aussie flu and how is it different from other flu strains?

Mini Me Dad: Conor McGregor
Mini Me Dad: Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor and son
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

MMA fighter Conor McGregor has said half his family has been struck down with Aussie flu.

But what is it and how different is it to other flu viruses?

There are three main types of flu virus - A, B and C - and hundreds of different subtypes.

H3N2 Flu is a subtype of influenza A. It triggered two-and-a-half times the normal number of cases in Australia, which earned it the nickname "Aussie flu".

The A mutates about three times faster than B, making it more likely that a new strain of A will cause a pandemic.

Some of Australia's A&E units had 'standing-room only' after being swamped by more than 100,000 cases of the H3N2 strain.

Here in Ireland, D-Doc, North Dublin's out-of-hours GP service, has temporarily suspended its phone lines due to a high number of calls.

Ireland is currently two weeks into its eight-week flu season.

What are the symptoms of Aussie flu?

Symptoms of Aussie flu are similar to those caused by regular flu, but they are more severe. These symptoms include:

• Sore throat and cough

• Headache

• Fever

• Muscle ache

• Fatigue

• Runny nose and sneezing

People usually recover from flu within a week so, although the cough and fatigue may last longer. So if the flu is persisting, it's a good indication to seek medical help.

Aussie flu can lead to pneumonia and other potentially fatal complications.

Anyone who visits A&E and displays symptoms of Aussie flu will be asked to wear a mask.

A new flu vaccine will be developed over the next year to protect against the H3N2 strain. But Emily O'Connor, President of the Irish Association of Emergency Medicine, told Newstalk's Pat Kenny today that the currently available flu vaccine in Ireland will offer some protection against the H3N2 strain.

She advised people to have good cough or sneeze etiquette, and to carry a hand cleanser.

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