Flu Complications Can Be Deadly If Not Treated Immediately
Flu complications can turn deadly if not treated immediately. Persistent fever, coughs, chills and the shakes should not be ignored. In fact, ignoring these severe flu symptoms can result in a serious pneumonia.
Here are the statistics as reported by the Center For Disease Control (CDC).
Depending on the severity of the flu season, about 750,000 to 1 million people are hospitalized each flu season in the United States. In addition, 30,000 to 80,000 people die from it.
Flu Complications: What Are They?
Influenza itself can be deadly in vulnerable patients, such as senior citizens due to their difficulties in breathing and dehydration. But complications like pneumonia are the real killers.
It starts with inflammation. The flu sets up an inflammatory response in the body so as to fight off the infection. That, in turn, causes the aches, pains and respiratory distress that make you feel awful.
The flu virus also attaches to, and infects, the cells lining the mucous membranes in the back of your throat, nose and bronchial tubes. Normally these cells eject infectious agents out of the body through the nose or mouth, or they are swallowed. But when you have the flu, it allows the bacteria to slip down into the bronchial tubes and trigger a secondary infection in the lungs.
Unfortunately, lying in bed makes people, especially senior citizens, more susceptible to pneumonia. They can’t cough as vigorously lying down as when standing up — and that allows germs to fester and percolate inside the lungs.
And things can get worse from there. Once infection sets in, the bacteria can clog up the air sacs in the lungs. That not only makes it hard to breathe but can allow bacteria to escape into the bloodstream, causing an infection called sepsis and, ultimately, leading to organ failure.
When that happens in to senior citizens, who already suffer from other underlying illnesses, you have fatality rates between 10 and 20 percent.
And even after the patient recovers, inflammation can still exist for a period of time. It can affect the blood vessels that feed the heart, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke for weeks or months.
Flu Complications: Know The Risk Factors
Age plays a big role. One of the biggest risks is age. Senior citizens who come down with the flu are more likely to be hospitalized, put on a breathing machine, and die from the illness.
Senior are chronologically old, but so too are their organs and immune system. Aged adults have a longer recovery period and the body’s ability to heal is slower and weaker compared to people in their 20’s and 30’s.
Other deficiencies in seniors are slower immune response times, and chronic illnesses such as heart disease,obesity, and diabetes. All of these can make the flu and the side affects worse.
If you feel you’re coming down with the flu , get medical treatment immediately. Get a flu shot if you have not already done so, and take Tamiflu — an antiviral medication. If taken within 48 hours, you can reduce the severity of the illness.
The flu vaccination also lowers a person’s chances of having a heart attack over the following year, research shows.
Your immediate response for medical help can mean the difference between feeling lousy for 7-10 days or developing serious pneumonia.