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Complications Of Influenza Infection Include Which Of The Following
Influenza, or the flu, is a highly infectious respiratory illness. As well as the usual symptoms, there are a number of possible complications that may occur with the flu, some of which can be quite dangerous.Each flu season, the flu affects around 8% of the population of the United States. Certain groups of people have a higher risk of developing moderate-to-severe complications from the flu. These groups include young children, older adults, pregnant people, and individuals with chronic underlying medical conditions.This article outlines some possible complications of the flu, alongside their associated treatment options. It also provides information on the people most at risk of developing flu complications and offers advice on when to contact a doctor. Complications from the flu can range from moderate to severe. In some cases, they can be life threatening. The sections below will look at some of these potential flu complications in more detail.Sinus and ear infectionsThe flu virus may cause inflammation and infection of the sinuses or ears. Symptoms of a sinus infection include:mucus in the throatnasal congestiona runny or drippy nosethroat irritationgreen or yellow nasal mucusheadaches at the front of the headtenderness in the face, particularly around the nose areatooth or upper jaw painbad breathfeverfatigueSymptoms of an ear infection include:earacheitching or irritation in the eara feeling of fullness or pressure in the eardischarge from the eardifficulty hearingfeverTreatmentTreatment options for a sinus or ear infection may include:BronchitisBronchitis is the medical term for inflammation of the large airways in the lungs. The condition can be short term (acute) or long term and recurrent (chronic). The flu virus usually causes acute bronchitis.Symptoms of bronchitis include:TreatmentMost cases of acute bronchitis clear up within a few weeks without the need for medical treatment. However, the following home treatments may help aid recovery or alleviate symptoms: DehydrationThe flu can cause various symptoms that may lead to fluid loss and dehydration. Some examples of these symptoms include:Symptoms of dehydration include:dark yellow urineless frequent urinationdry skin, mouth, or eyesa lack of tears in infantsTreatmentPeople who have the flu should drink plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration.Also, the following options will help replace lost electrolytes:brothfruit juicessports drinksPeople with severe dehydration will require intravenous (IV) fluids in a hospital.PneumoniaPneumonia is the medical term for an infection in one or both lungs.The flu virus can invade the lungs, causing viral pneumonia. It can also cause a secondary, or superimposed, bacterial infection that results in bacterial pneumonia.Symptoms of pneumonia include:a cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucusshortness of breath or rapid, shallow breathingchest painan inability to take a deep breathfevernausea and vomitingloss of appetitefatigueconfusionTreatmentTreatment options for pneumonia depend on the type of pneumonia a person has and its severity. Some possible treatment options include:antibiotics to treat bacterial pneumoniapain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofenrestfluidsPeople who develop severe pneumonia are likely to require treatment in a hospital. For example, they may require IV fluids, oxygen, or breathing assistance using a mechanical ventilator.Inflammation of the heart, brain, or musclesIn rare cases, the flu virus can cause infection and inflammation of the brain, heart, or muscles. An infection of the brain or heart can result in severe and potentially life threatening complications.Encephalitis is the medical term for inflammation of the brain. Symptoms may include:headacheconfusionvision problemsfeverseizuresMyocarditis is the medical term for inflammation of the heart. Symptoms may include: Myositis is the medical term for inflammation of the muscles. Symptoms may include:muscle weaknessmuscle tendernessmuscle swellingdifficulty carrying out everyday tasks, such as:climbing stairsrising from a chairlifting or holding objectsTreatmentSome potential treatment options for encephalitis and myocarditis include:antiviral medications to target viral causes, such as herpesantibiotics to target bacterial causessteroid injections to suppress the immune system and control inflammationimmunoglobulin therapy, which uses drugs to help control the immune systemTreatment options for myositis include:SepsisSepsis is an extreme and potentially life threatening immune system response to infection. In sepsis, the immune system goes into overdrive and begins attacking healthy cells, tissues, and organs in the body. The flu virus can cause sepsis or a secondary bacterial infection that leads to sepsis. Some possible signs and symptoms of sepsis include:an unusually high or low temperaturelow blood pressurean increased heart rateshortness of breathsevere pain or discomfortmental changes, such as confusion or unusual sleepinessTreatmentWithout prompt treatment, sepsis can lead to organ failure and death.A person who has sepsis will require immediate hospitalization. They should receive antibiotic treatment as soon as a healthcare professional makes a diagnosis. Some people may also require breathing assistance using a ventilator or surgery to remove areas of infection.Worsening of existing health conditionsThe flu can also worsen certain chronic health conditions, including:Some conditions can also weaken the immune system, making it harder for a person’s body to fight the flu virus. Examples of these conditions include diabetes and HIV.Having an existing medical condition also increases the risk of developing flu complications. TreatmentManaging any existing conditions and receiving antiviral drugs as soon as flu symptoms develop can reduce symptoms and help prevent complications.Certain factors — such as age, medication use, and underlying health issues — can affect how the body responds to the flu virus.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people in the following groups are at increased risk of developing flu complications:people over the age of 65 yearschildren under the age of 5 years, particularly those under the age of 2 yearspeople under the age of 19 years who take long-term medications containing aspirin or salicylatepeople taking corticosteroids or medications to suppress the immune systempregnant peopleThe CDC also notes that the following health conditions can also increase a person’s risk of developing flu complications:People at risk of developing flu complications should ensure that they receive annual vaccines.The CDC recommends the annual flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age and anyone who is at risk of developing complications from the flu. The CDC also recommends the pneumonia, or pneumococcal, vaccine for children under 2 years of age, adults over 65 years of age, people with certain medical conditions, and people who smoke cigarettes.If a person is at risk of developing flu complications, they should contact a doctor as soon as they experience symptoms. Receiving antiviral drugs within 2 days of developing symptoms can reduce symptom severity and duration and lower the risk of complications.The CDC recommends that children receive immediate medical attention if they experience any of the following symptoms:a change in breathing or difficulty breathinga blue tinge to the face or lipsmuscle pain, which may make them not want to walkrecurrent cough or fevera lack of alertnessseizuresa fever higher than 104°F (40°C) in children over 12 weeks of age or a fever of any kind in children under 12 weeks of ageany symptoms of dehydration, such as:a lack of urine for 8 hoursa dry mouthcrying without tearsworsening of existing health conditionsThe CDC recommends that adults seek immediate medical attention for any of the following symptoms:difficulty breathing or shortness of breathpersistent pain in the chest or abdomenrecurrent cough or fevermuscle painweakness or unsteadinessdehydrationdizzinessa new state of confusion or an inability to wakeseizuresworsening of existing health conditionsThe flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness that may lead to complications. Certain groups of people are at increased risk of developing flu complications. These include young children, older adults, and people with underlying health conditions.People should contact a doctor straight away if they are in an at-risk group and they develop any symptoms of the flu.Receiving the annual flu vaccine reduces a person’s risk of getting the flu. For people who do get the flu, receiving antiviral medications as soon as symptoms appear may help reduce symptom severity and duration as well as lower the risk of severe complications.
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