When Is Your Influenza a Serious Problem?
None of us are strangers to the flu. It will strike without warning, beginning with mild discomfort and usually ending with a list of irritable or painful manifestations. When, however, is the right time to stop nursing your flu on your own and seek out professional help? What are the flu symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore?
Each Year Brings New Strains of the Flu
Influenza strains vary in severity and we sometimes hear news reports warning of some new variety of flu sweeping the nation. Creators of flu shots admit that they cannot protect against every strain. The New England Journal of Medicine related that vaccine mismatches sometimes occur, meaning that the strains which vaccines protect against are not always the ones that are most active among the populace. The report stated that as many as many as 80% of the influenza viruses circulating in the 2014-2015 flu season were different than those that vaccines protected against. So, while a flu shot can go a long way toward prevention, influenza can still strike.
What to Do if You Get the Flu
Healthy foods to battle influenza include broth, chicken soup, leafy greens, and vitamin C. Exercise helps to flush harmful toxins and other unwanted items from the bloodstream, digestive track, and stored fats. However, make exercise part of your regular routine before you get sick, since it’s not recommended when you have the flu.
Fortunately, for most people the illness passes on its own with adequate rest. However, the CDC reported 2017 as one of the deadliest years for the flu to date, with a death toll of 80,000. That alarming statistic means knowing true risk factors is vital. So, when should a case of the flu truly concern you? It is essential for each of us to learn what signs indicate you or a loved one may need to seek medical help.
Who is Most at Risk for Severe Influenza?
Certain people are more at risk than others. Those people should take extra care in preventing and treating flu symptoms and, if necessary, seeking medical intervention. Those most at risk include children and the elderly, as well as people of any age with:
- Pre-existing illnesses
- Respiratory illnesses
- Weakened immune systems
- Extreme obesity
Serious Danger Signs of Influenza
While an ordinary case of the flu will put you out of commission for a few days, more severe cases do develop. With complications and even death as risk factors for serious cases, it is important to know the signs of a more advanced sickness. What are the signs that your flu symptoms have escalated and you should seek professional medical help?
Flu Symptoms for Children You Should Not Ignore
Children exhibit somewhat different danger signs than adults. Signals that your child might need attention from professionals include;
- Skin takes on a bluish color
- Flu symptoms return with fever and worsened cough
- Fever with rash
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Trouble waking up
- Not interacting with others in a normal fashion
- Extreme irritability and unwillingness to be held
- Difficulty breathing or quick breathing
You know your child’s ordinary behavior patterns. That likely includes their behavior when they’re sick. Variations from those patterns may indicate serious illness. It is always a good idea to seek professional medical help if you suspect your child’s illness is in any way severe.
Flu Symptoms for Adults You Should Not Ignore
While you should certainly watch children closely, adults can also develop serious complications from influenza. Don’t ignore these signs if you are watching over yourself and take action if they occur in someone you are with. Contact a doctor if your symptoms include:
- Trouble eating
- Breathing problems
- Difficulty waking up
- Bluish or purple lips
- Chest pains
- Abdominal pains
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent vomiting
If you, your children, or someone in your family shows signs other than the ordinary symptoms, or displays ordinary symptoms at elevated levels, you should seek professional medical help. Know which members of your family are at risk, what symptoms are danger signs for that individual, and be ready to take action. If ever in doubt, err on the side of safety.
Preventative Measures for the Flu
While you cannot protect yourself and your family from influenza in absolute terms, you can greatly reduce your chances of contracting it. The easiest method involves not touching your face. The flu is very contagious and one fast way to get it is to deliver it to your nose and mouth. Practice touching your face less. In addition, wash your hands often during flu season.