Flu Complications and How to Manage Them

Flu Complications and How to Manage Them

According to the CDC, about eight percent of people are affected by the influenza virus every year. The flu infection usually lasts for a few weeks and clears up with rest and lots of fluids. Sometimes though the infections can cause serious health complications especially in high-risk groups. Certain factors such as age, ethnicity, pre-existing medical conditions, people with a weakened immune system, pregnant women and morbid obesity can increase your risk.

Sometimes though the infections can cause serious health complications especially in high-risk groups. Certain factors such as age, ethnicity, pre-existing medical conditions, people with a weakened immune system, pregnant women and morbid obesity can increase your risk.

Some of the flu complications that you may get include:

1. Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, and chemicals, but can also result from flu infection when the influenza virus enters your lungs. This lung infection is serious and can cause chills, fever, chest pain, sweating, shortness of breath, and sharp pains.

Pneumonia is however treatable with simple remedies such as sleep and warm fluids.

2. Sinusitis

Sinusitis occurs when the sinuses swell. Sinuses are tiny air pockets found in the nose and forehead and are responsible for producing mucus. Whenever the sinuses are inflamed as a result of the flu, excess mucus is produced which clogs them up. This provides a perfect environment for bacteria to fester leading to sinus infection.

Sinusitis symptoms include sore throat, coughs, reduced sense of smell, nasal congestion, and pain in the sinuses and upper jaw. These symptoms clear up in one or two weeks with the use of nasal decongestants, saline spray, and pain relievers.

Sinusitis is not a life-threatening disease, but you should visit a flu emergency room if you have difficulty breathing, a swollen forehead, vision changes, and mental confusion.

3. Bronchitis

Bronchitis is caused by the irritation of bronchi tubes in the lungs. The influenza virus causes the bronchial tubes to swell and be inflamed making it hard to breathe. Bronchitis symptoms include wet cough, fatigue, mild fever, chills, and chest tightness. Often the infection can be treated with rest, fluids, using a humidifier, and medications. However, seek flu treatment in 77030 if you have a high fever and bloody coughs.

4. Ear Infection

An ear infection is the inflammation of the middle ear which causes chills, fever, ear drainage, vomiting, mood changes, and hearing loss. In severe cases, the infection may cause ear discharge.

5. Sepsis

Sepsis is the body’s response to infection, and it can be fatal and should be addressed with haste. The infection affects pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic conditions like diabetes, a weakened immune system, and children under one year.

Sepsis can lead to septic shock which occurs when you have an abnormal change in the circulatory system. Septic shock is fatal and that’s why you need to seek urgent treatment. Visit ER for flu when you notice a change in mental status, higher respiratory and heart rate, difficulty breathing, and low systolic blood pressure.

Other serious flu complications include inflammation of the brain, heart, and muscle, and multiple-organ failure.

How to Prevent Flu Complications?

The flu infection is common and affects the majority of the adult population. However, with the flu vaccine, you increase your chances of preventing it. The CDC recommends a flu shot for all people, but the priority is high-risk groups such as:

  • Children under five years
  • Seniors
  • People with pre-existing conditions such as asthma
  • Native Americans and Alaskan natives

Good nutrition plays an integral part in the management of the flu. Increase your intake of vegetables, fish, eggs, legumes, and dairy to give your body the protein it needs. Plus, have regular exercises to strengthen your body as well as your immune system. A strong immune system gives you a fighting chance and can fight the above-mentioned complications.

Practicing good hygiene, regular hand-washing, avoiding crowded places, and limiting contact with infected people can also prevent the flu.

Seek Medical Attention When Necessary

The flu symptoms last for one or two weeks and can clear up with home remedies. However, when the symptoms linger on for more than two weeks, get cold and flu treatment in Houston or visit Ascent ER for an assessment.

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