Influenza is one of the most common yet complicated illnesses experienced during the cold months in the United States. It’s common because nearly everyone gets the flu at some point in their life. It’s complicated because it affects everyone differently.
Same Flu, Different Effects
Though the symptoms are the same, the severity and duration of the symptoms vary. Some people groups including young children, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, and older adults are at a higher risk for flu-related complications. These complications range from the development of pneumonia or bacterial infection to life-threatening conditions including trouble breathing, high fever, and seizures.
Flu-related complications can become serious and even deadly quickly, but these complications can often be prevented or managed when you seek medical help at the first sign of trouble. You are at a greater risk of complications and should visit the doctor upon first sign of illness if:
- You are pregnant or have given birth within the last two weeks, younger than one year of age, or are aged 65 or older.
- You are younger than 19 and are receiving long-term aspirin therapy.
- You have a chronic condition including asthma, airway abnormality, heart disease, diabetes, neurological or neurodevelopmental condition, or kidney, blood, or liver disease.
- You have a weakened immune system from cancer therapies, HIV medications, long-term use of steroids and other immunosuppressants.
- You have a BMI of 40 or higher.
When to Revisit Your Medical Provider
Although flu complications are more likely to affect people in these groups, anyone can experience adverse effects from the illness. You should revisit your medical provider immediately if you:
- Encounter difficult or labored breathing
- Have unbearable muscle pain that may also make walking difficult
- Are a child with the flu whose fever reaches 104℉ or higher
- Have a child with the flu whose breathing becomes loud, noisy and causes them to visibly pull in the muscles around the ribs when breathing
- Have a baby under 12 weeks who develops a fever
- Experience a seizure, loss of consciousness, confusion, or difficulty communicating
- Suffer intense dizziness that lasts for hours
- Stop urinating
- Have a chronic condition whose symptoms worsen during the flu
- Suffer from a return of flu symptoms that are worse than before.
The sooner you seek care for your flu symptoms, the more likely you are to make a full recovery. Visit EliteCare now if you or your loved one are experiencing any of the complications mentioned in today’s blog or a worsening of flu symptoms.