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Complications of the Flu

Complications of the Flu

6 January 2014 / Category: News
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Complications of the fluUnlike the symptoms occurring from a cold, flu symptoms are sudden and start appearing with the onset of various physiological responses. The physical symptoms are fever, headache, and body fatigue.  Dry cough, a runny nose, and a sore throat are also some of the major symptoms. Sometimes the flu is also followed by diarrhea and vomiting. Symptoms occurring in children can be worse with the onset of a very high grade fever, irritability, and chills. The other symptoms mentioned above are the same for both adults and children. However, there is an exception to the fact that the elderly exceeding the age of 65, pregnant women and very young children tend to be at a higher risk of contracting serious problems related to the flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research complications like the dehydration, sinus infections, bacterial pneumonia and inner ear infections can often originate from the flu. In more severe cases, congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes may follow.

Complications of the flu Include:

Pneumonia
Pneumonia is usually caused by the inhalation of bacteria or viruses associated with the influenza virus. It is a lung infection which is curable and lasts for almost 2 to 3 weeks. During the attack, patients usually experience pain while coughing or breathing, and moderate to severe fever. Weakness in the entire body, increased heart rate, vomiting, and diarrhea are also seen in the patients suffering from pneumonia.

Tonsillitis
Just like the pneumonia, a viral or in rare cases, a bacterial infection causes tonsillitis which is the inflammation of the tonsils. Though it usually goes away on its own after a few days, care is required. Although adults are rarely affected, it is very much common in children.

A swollen reddish sore throat followed by a fever and coughing is one of the major symptoms of tonsillitis. A surgical procedure for the removal of tonsils may be required if the tonsillitis develops a chronic condition.

Infections of the ear
An ear infection is caused by either a bacterial or viral infections. Since influenza is a viral infection, untreated flu tends to cause various infections of the ear.  Just like the symptoms associated with the flu, ear infections tend to cause fever, body aches, and respiratory problems. However, the most common issue during an ear infection is the swelling of the middle year lobe which secretes a fluid that actually serves as a breeding ground for the flu virus.  This further leads to the congestion of the lungs and nasal passages making breathing a difficult task. A mild ear infection fades away along with the flu but in severe cases, antibiotics are prescribed by the physician to get rid of the infection.

Sinusitis
Sinusitis is a condition where the viral infection causes the inflammation of the sinuses. There are two types of sinusitis, acute and chronic. The acute condition fades away in just a few weeks whereas the later tends to require serious medical attention.  For adults, the respiratory issues get serious during the night time and other symptoms include headaches, nasal congestion, and fever along with muscle pains.  Children can experience relapse of the fever and cold.

Dehydration
Dehydration occurs in normal daily routine when one does not take enough water for the proper functioning of the human body. Dehydration is caused by insufficient water supply according to the demands of the human body. One of the major complications of the flu is dehydration which is characterized by dry skin and mouth, fatigue, inability to perform daily routines, headaches, dizziness, and low blood pressure.

Asthma
Asthma is either a product of genetic factors or mixed environmental causes.  Inflammation of the air passages to the lungs is called asthma and is characterized by a number of bronchial issues. The symptoms are difficulty in breathing, wheezing, coughing, and tightening of the chest. Viral-induced asthma is often a cause of untreated or prolonged flu conditions. Complicated sleep patterns and excessive weakness of the human body are also one of the many symptoms of asthma.

Bronchitis
Bronchitis and its symptoms are very much linked to asthma. The major difference is that inflammation of air passages that supply the air to the more distal parts of the lungs, make bronchitis more severe than asthma. Bronchitis is both acute and chronic. Influenza virus is one of the major factors leading to acute bronchitis which upon resistance turns into chronic bronchitis.

Systemic Complications
A few other complications caused by the untreated flu include gastroenteritis which is called the stomach flu and various other systemic symptoms including high grade fever, extreme fatigue, muscle aches, and malaise. Systemic complications may include the inflammation of the heart tissues leading to the onset of heart problems and many other respiratory issues.

Treatment and prevention of the flu

There are many drugs known as the “antivirals” prescribed by doctors to cure influenza however, their intake also varies from person to person with certain age limitations and many other physiological complications. Even a mild flu can turn into a serious health issue. Do not ignore prolonged flu symptoms, instead seek immediate medical attention. Call us today and schedule your next flu shot.

About the author

Jonathan Kudrowitz Mr. Kudrowitz is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University’s Physician Assistant Program (MMS) and also completed a master’s degree in biomedical science (MS) at Florida Atlantic University. Jon is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and is a member in good standing of the FAPA and AAPA. He joined UMC in 2009 and shares a commitment to delivering high-quality care with the utmost compassion, respect and attention to his patients.




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