Dangers of Flu Complications & Signs of Alert
While it’s not an epidemic this season, it would be wise to not take influenza or dangers of flu complications lightly. While the CDC’s weekly influenza report as of Jan. 20, 2023, has reported a recent decrease in cases, it’s still important to avoid the spread of the virus. In fact, according to the Texas Health and Human Services, Texas is still reporting high cases.
For this reason, Altus Emergency Centers is sounding the alarm for residents of Texas to take extra precautions to avoid being infected and to reduce the risk of complications that could lead to death.
Image source: dshs.texas.gov
Avoiding Infections During a Flu Epidemic
The vaccines that are made available to the public each year may not prevent a person from being infected with the influenza virus, but it can help diminish the effects of the illness and aid in a speedier healing process.
Because of this, it is recommended that individuals constantly wash their hands, especially before eating, we recommend you carry a small container of alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use when washing your hands with soap and water is not possible.
Clean your workspace with antibacterial towels, and make sure the label says it has been tested to kill the flu virus.
Eating right and getting plenty of rest is a good way to keep your immune system healthy, consider taking a vitamin C supplement this time of year, to help keep your defenses up.
Get to Know the Dangers of Flu Complications.
When Things Take Turn For The Worse
As awful as the flu symptoms can be, most of us are able to fight the infection on our own and make a full recovery within a few days or weeks, some individuals, however, are at a higher risk of developing complications from the flu, some of these complications are extremely severe can lead to death if not treated properly.
Patients with increased risk factors include:
- Individuals over the age of 65
- Young children under the age of 5, especially infants and toddlers
- Pregnant women and women two weeks postpartum
- Patients suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, cystic fibrosis, COPD, heart disease, kidney, or liver disorders, obesity, and anyone with a weakened immune system.
Complications from the Flu
The flu virus is extremely aggressive and reproduces very fast, this results in a strong response from the immune system, in most healthy adults this response is enough to combat the virus, this, however, can tax the immune system and lead to secondary infections.
Secondary infections range from mild-moderate to more severe which if left untreated can result in the death of the patient.
Mild to Moderate Complications of the Flu
- Ear Infections
- Sinus Infections
Severe Complications from the Flu
These can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated on time.
Pneumonia: A lung infection most commonly caused by bacteria, but it can also be caused by viruses or fungi.
- Myocarditis: Inflammation of the heart
- Encephalitis: Inflammation of the brain
- Myositis or Rhabdomyolysis: Inflammation of the muscle tissue
- Overwhelming Immune Response: In some patients, the immune system response can be so severe it can damage too much tissue in the lungs, making it difficult to deliver oxygen to the blood, resulting in hypoxia and death.
Warning Signs You Should Not Ignore
Anyone is susceptible to the flu and its complications if you suspect you may have been infected with the flu virus visit your neighborhood Altus Emergency Centers where we can apply one of our rapid flu tests, the results are available within minutes, and receiving early treatment can prevent deadly complications.
If you or a loved one show any of the following symptoms head to the nearest emergency center for diagnoses and treatment:
- Trouble breathing
- High fevers, sweats, or chills
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Elevated blood pressure
- Symptoms that show no improvement within 3-4 days
- Symptoms that seem to improve but later worsen
- If your child’s skin turns a grayish or bluish color
- Intense or persistent vomiting
- Trouble swallowing
- If your child seems lethargic or has trouble responding to stimuli