advertisement

Colds and flu

27 February 2020

Got flu? Deal quickly with complications

When you have the flu, other infections that can weasel their way into your body include pneumonia, sinus infections, ear infections and bronchitis.

Fighting the flu can be an unpleasant experience – but the misery may not stop there.

When you have the flu, your immune system is under attack, making complications common. Other infections can weasel their way into your body, according to Libby Richards, an associate professor at Purdue University's School of Nursing in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Common complications include pneumonia, sinus infections, ear infections and bronchitis.

"Pneumonia can occur as a secondary bacterial infection and occurs after you have had flu symptoms for several days," Richards said in a university news release. "It can also occur as a viral infection, which develops more rapidly."

Additional treatment

Pneumonia is often accompanied by flu-like symptoms, including chills, fever and aches. Severe symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pains, sweating, high heart rate and a nasty cough. Signs of ear or sinus infections include facial pressure, drainage and ear pain.

If think you're experiencing flu complications, Richards urges you to see your doctor. You may need additional treatment, such as antibiotics, to fight off infection.

"Vaccination is the best way to reduce your chance of having complications from the flu," she said. "Second to vaccination, working to maintain a healthy immune system can help fight off complications."

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that rates of influenza and influenza-like illnesses are currently high throughout the country. An estimated 15 million cases have been diagnosed and 8 200 Americans have died due to influenza this season.

Image credit: iStock

 

Ask the Expert

Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules