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What Are Complications Of The Flu

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Influenza: What You Need To Know

Boy, 10, Dies Of Complications From The Flu

Influenza, also called “flu”, is a viral illness that causes fever, sore throat, muscle aches and cough. Influenza can weaken the bodys defenses and lead to complications like bacterial pneumonia. It can also worsen existing chronic health problems like heart disease and diabetes.

The flu season can be as early as October and as late as May. During an average flu season, 36,000 Americans die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized because of complications from influenza. Some people, such as young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with certain chronic health conditions are more likely to have complications related to influenza. While most deaths occur among the elderly and people with chronic health conditions, deaths can also occur among younger adults and children.

Staying Safe And Stopping The Spread Of The Flu

We’ve learnt a lot about staying safe and healthy in the last year, but the seasonal flu is still a concern and the best way to prevent it is by getting your flu shot

In the past year we’ve learned a lot about how to stay safe and stay healthy.

We know to wash our hands properly and sanitize often to stay home.

If we don’t feel well and to keep our distance from others but even with these precautions, the seasonal flu is still a concern and the best way to avoid it is to get your flu shot.

Remember to make sure it’s at least two weeks apart from your covert 19 vaccine to truly protect yourself and the people you love this flu season.

Don’t forget your flu shot authorised by the Victorian Government Melbourne.

When Should I Seek Medical Help

Anyone can develop serious complications from the flu, but certain people are at an especially high risk, including men and women over age 65, those with certain chronic health conditions , pregnant women, and children younger than 5 .

The CDC lists a number of emergency warning signs of the flu. For adults, these include the following symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Persistent dizziness, confusion, or inability to rouse from sleep
  • Seizures

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Side Effects Of The Flu Shot Are Nothing Compared With Flu Sickness

Many people are also concerned that the possible side effects of the flu shot could be worse than getting the flu itself, notes Horney.

The potential risks of a severe case of influenza far outweigh any very limited risk of side effects , which are typically mild, she says.

Some people equate the flu with having a bad cold. While the flu and the common cold have some symptoms in common, the flu can knock people flat for a few days to as long as two weeks, and it can also have far more dire consequences.

Some people who get the flu will develop complications such as pneumonia, inflammation of the heart , inflammation of the brain , or respiratory failure, which can lead to hospitalization and death, notes the CDC.

Even if youve been vaccinated and still get the flu, you are less likely to die, be hospitalized, or be admitted to the ICU, Horney says.

While incidence of the flu was unusually low last year, thanks to COVID-19 precautions like mandatory masking and stay-at-home orders, the CDC estimates that the 20192020 flu season led to some 400,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 flu deaths.

And we could potentially see numbers like that again this year. As people return to offices and classrooms, and COVID-19 vaccinations lead to more mask-free gatherings, doctors are expecting a major uptick in flu cases this fall and winter.

Indeed, reduced population immunity could result in an early, and possibly severe, flu season, cautions the CDC.

Miscellaneous Complications Of Viral Influenza

Symptoms and complications of influenza. Complicated ...

In addition to the systemic and respiratory effects of viral influenza, and the pulmonary complications that can arise from the direct effects of influenza virus on the lung, this virus can exert direct and indirect effects on other body systems. Myositis and rhabdomyolysis have been rarely reported associated with either influenza A or B.44 In one study, more than 50% of patients hospitalized with influenza A were noted to have elevations of creatine phosphokinase, and 2 of these demonstrated muscle necrosis on biopsy. Clinical severity varies but can include renal failure and problems with ambulation involving proximal leg muscles. Symptoms generally resolve in 4 to 6 weeks.

Neurologic complications of influenza include encephalopathy , encephalomyelitis, transverse myelitis, aseptic meningitis, focal neurologic disorders, and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Central nervous system involvement is most common in children.45 Pathogenesis includes direct viral invasion and development of antigen/antibody complexes, but is often uncertain. Presentation is generally rapid, and mortality may reach 30%. Acute necrotizing encephalopathy has been reported primarily from Japan, most commonly in association with influenza A. Disease is often fulminant and fatal.

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Are All Complications Of A Cold Or Flu The Same

While both a cold and the flu can cause complications such as sinus and ear infections, complications from the flu are generally more serious and are more likely to lead to conditions that may require hospitalization, like pneumonia, according to the CDC.

Learn More About How to Tell the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu

Similarities Between The Symptoms Of The Flu And Covid

The flu and COVID-19 are different viruses. They’re very contagious and have similar symptoms. This can make it hard to tell the difference between the flu and COVID-19 when symptoms appear.

If you start to develop symptoms, follow the same precautions taken for COVID-19.

This year is more important than ever for everyone 6 months and older to get the flu shot. This will help prevent the flu and flu-related complications. Preventing the flu will also help reduce stress on the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Why Getting A Pneumonia Vaccine Matters

While you are rolling up your sleeves, ask for the pneumococcal vaccine. With any viral lung infection, influenza or COVID-19, there is an increased risk of a secondary bacterial infection, Gastaldo says.

Receiving a pneumococcal vaccination provides a layer of protection against infections and severe outcomes from this bacterial infection.

Fortunately there are sound strategies for avoiding the worst. Get vaccinated, wash your hands, keep your distance from others and stay home when you are sick, Oyer says. This should be the playbook for the upcoming flu season.

Pneumonia And Other Bacterial Infections

What are complications related to the flu?

The immune system uses a lot of energy and resources in its long-lasting fight with the flu. This allows our normal mouth bacteria to go unchecked and provides opportunity for them to migrate down into the lungs and up into the ears and sinuses. While ear and sinus infections are easily treated with antibiotics, pneumonia presents more of a problem. In fact, most flu-related deaths are caused by this very serious complication.

Signs of pneumonia include fever that lasts more than three days, fever that goes away for a couple days and then returns, worsening cough or difficulty breathing. Anyone with the flu who develops these symptoms should be seen by a medical provider right away.

Bacteria from pneumonia can spread to the blood and cause a very dangerous condition called sepsis. Urinary tract infections are also common with flu, especially in girls. Peeing rinses the bladder of skin bacteria that has made its way inside. Influenza zaps energy and appetite, so those with the flu drink and pee less, which can lead to a UTI. More reason to seek help when fever does not go away or returns!

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Who Should Not Get The Flu Vaccine

Influenza vaccines given by injection should not be given to:

  • People who have had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of influenza vaccine
  • Individuals who have had Guillain-Barré syndrome within 6 weeks of an influenza vaccine dose
  • The live attenuated influenza vaccine , given nasally, should not be given to:

    • Children under 24 months of age
    • People with severe asthma
    • Pregnant women
    • People with a weakened immune system

    IMPORTANT: Individuals with egg allergies can now receive full doses of influenza vaccines given by injection ) without a skin test. Only the live attenuated influenza vaccine , administered nasally, is contraindicated for these individuals as it has not been studied in this group.

    If you have a fever or are seriously ill at the time of vaccination, ask a doctor whether or not you should wait for the vaccine.

    How Is The Flu Treated

    Specific treatment for the flu will be determined by your healthcare provider based on:

    • Your age, overall health, and medical history

    • Extent and type of flu, and severity of symptoms

    • How long youve had symptoms

    • Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies

    • Expectations for the course of the disease

    • Your opinion or preference

    The goal of treatment for the flu is to help prevent or decrease the severity of symptoms. Treatment may include:

    • Antiviral medicines. They can reduce how long youll have the flu, but they cant cure it. They have to be started within the first 2 days of the illness. These medicines do have some side effects, such as nervousness, lightheadedness, or nausea. These medicines are prescribed by a doctor.

    • Medicines. There are medicines for congestion and nasal discharge. You can also take medicine to relieve aches and fever. Do not give aspirin to children with fever. The drug of choice for children is acetaminophen.

    • Rest. Bed rest and increased intake of fluids.

    Talk with your healthcare provider for more information.

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    How You Catch Flu

    The flu virus is contained in the millions of tiny droplets that come out of the nose and mouth when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes.

    These droplets typically spread about one metre. They hang suspended in the air for a while before landing on surfaces, where the virus can survive for up to 24 hours.

    Anyone who breathes in the droplets can catch flu. You can also catch the virus by touching the surfaces that the droplets have landed on if you pick up the virus on your hands and then touch your nose or mouth.

    Everyday items at home and in public places can easily become contaminated with the flu virus, including food, door handles, remote controls, handrails, telephone handsets and computer keyboards. Therefore, it’s important to wash your hands frequently.

    You can catch flu many times because flu viruses change regularly and your body won’t have a natural resistance to the new versions.

    Should People Who Are Immunocompromised Get A Flu Shot

    People At High Risk For Flu Complications Stock ...

    Another misconception is that individuals with chronic conditions who may be immunocompromised may have a worse reaction to the vaccine because they are more vulnerable. Health officials say this is not so.

    When we say that the vaccine is universally recommended for ages 6 months and above, we mean it, says Dr. Conway. The only group that should absolutely not get it again would be somebody with a genuine allergic reaction to the vaccine obviously, they should avoid it.

    Older people and people with underlying conditions should really even be higher priority than others to get the flu vaccine, says Dean Winslow, MD, an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine in California.

    The fact is, the flu can be much more disastrous for these high-risk populations.

    People with asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and a number of other chronic health conditions are at a higher risk of developing serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death, per the CDC.

    Indeed, during recent flu seasons, 9 out of 10 people hospitalized with the flu had at least one underlying health condition, the agency notes.

    Being pregnant also puts you at an increased risk of more severe illness from the flu. This is due to changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs that occur during pregnancy .

    The flu vaccine offers protection against the flu to both the mother and the baby.

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    What Dietary Changes Should You Make When You Have The Flu

    Staying hydrated is probably the most important thing you can do, especially if you have a fever. You can drink water, coconut water, or a sports drink that contains an electrolyte for hydration.

    Eating foods rich in antioxidants and vitamin C can give your immune system a much needed boost when you’re sick.

    Managing Your Symptoms At Home

    If you’re otherwise healthy, you can look after yourself at home by resting, keeping warm and drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

    If you’re concerned about coronavirus , be mindful of our ibuprofen advice on the coronavius page.

    If you feel unwell and have a fever, you can take paracetamol or anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen to lower your temperature and relieve aches. Children under 16 shouldn’t be given aspirin.

    Stay off work or school until you’re feeling better. For most people, this will take about a week. See your GP if your symptoms get worse or last longer than a week.

    Read the page on preventing flu for more information about stopping the infection spreading to others.

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    Don’t Forget Your Flu Shot Protect Yourself And Others This Flu Season

    The flu isnt like the common cold, it can hit quickly and last for weeks. For some people, the flu can have serious and devastating outcomes. Its important everyone in the community plays their part in helping stop the spread of flu.

    Our message is simple: Don’t forget your flu shot. Protect yourself and others this flu season.

    Fighting The Flu: Possible Complications To Look Out For

    Needham mother dies of complications from the flu

    Most people who get the flu just have a mild illness that lasts for a week or two. But things change as the years pass by. Our immune systems become weaker with age and were more likely to suffer from long-lasting medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, for instance.

    With that, our bodies find it harder and harder to fight the flu. That means were more likely to suffer complications and more likely to be hospitalised because of them.

    Be aware of possible complications

    From time to time the flu can become more severe, either because of the virus itself or because of a secondary, usually bacterial, infection. After all, the flu can sometimes weaken your lungs, making it easier for a bacterial infection to take hold.

    Bacterial chest infections such as bronchitis are the most common complication were likely to experience from the flu. Occasionally, this infection can become serious. It can develop into pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. Very occasionally, pneumonia can become life-threatening.

    While bronchitis and pneumonia are the most common complications, you may also be unfortunate enough to experience other serious complications:

    • Inflammation of the tonsils
    • An infection of the middle ear
    • Inflammation of the lining of the sinuses
    • An infection in the brain and spinal cord
    • Inflammation of the brain
    • Inflammation of the heart

    The flu also can affect chronic health conditions


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    Listen To Our Flu Podcast

    Victorias Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton and the Director of the World Health Organisations Influenza Centre, Professor Kanta Subbarao discuss the complexities of the different flu viruses and how vaccines are crafted to protect us, common misconceptions, when to get vaccinated and why some groups are more vulnerable to the flu.

    Why Do Some People Get Seasonal Flu Even After They’ve Been Fully Vaccinated

    The bad news is that people who have been vaccinated still have the flu. In these people, influenza infection can occur for a variety of reasons, including whether or not they received the appropriate dose of the vaccine for their age, when they received the influenza vaccine , and the state of their health at the time of the vaccination.

    The good news is that symptoms are usually milder and the course of the disease is shorter for those who have received the vaccine than for those who have not.

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    Who Is At Risk To Develop Complications Of Flu

    For young and healthy individuals, the flu usually does not cause serious complications. The symptoms may be severe for a few days, and gradually improve and completely resolve in a week or two. However, certain groups of people need to be cautious and seek medical treatment if the flu symptoms are getting worse or new symptoms suggest a flu complication.

    As per CDC, there are certain risk factors including age and pre-existing conditions that increase the chances of getting complications after the flu. Older adults over 65 and children age 5 or younger and those with chronic diseases like asthma, heart diseases, diabetes, liver and kidney diseases. Individuals with weakened immune systems due to a disease or immunosuppressant drugs, and those with excess weight and body mass index over 40 are also at increased risk. Keeping a chronic condition well managed can greatly reduce the risk of complications. Flu vaccines are widely available in the US- more details about different types of flu vaccines are in this article.

    What Are The Complications Of Influenza


    Complications of influenza can include:

    • bronchitis
    • worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, cancer asthma, diabetes, bronchitis, and kidney, liver or lung disease

    Swine flu, a severe strain of influenza can lead to more serious complications apart from the above, such as:

    • breathing problems
    • lung infection

    Bird flu, another severe strain of flu can also result in the following dire complications apart from all the ones mentioned above:

    • acute respiratory distress syndrome ,
    • abdominal cramps
    • death

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