What Are Some Complications That Can Result From The Flu?

Dr. Owen Hendley answers the question: 'Complications That Result From The Flu?'

— -- Question: What are some complications that can result from the flu?

Answer: Influenza, also called the flu, which is a respiratory infection characterized by fever and cough in an adult, is maybe a severe infection in and of itself and characteristically lasts five to seven days and then you gradually begin to feel better.

It is not uncommon for there to be a bacterial super-infection. Now, bacteria are germs that we live with normally, but then the influenza virus does damage to the lining of the nose and the lungs so that the bacteria which are around may cause a secondary infection, secondary to the damage caused by the influenza virus.

The most common secondary infection with influenza are bacterial pneumonia or bacterial sinusitis or bacterial otitis. And bacteria meaning: germs that would be responsive to antimicrobial therapy.

My advice to someone with the flu is: if you get a second fever -- that is, you get through your illness after five or six days, you're beginning to feel like you're going to live again -- if you then develop new fever or your cough gets remarkably worse or you feel all terribly stuffed up, then that might be the time to seek advice from a doctor to see if you have a secondary bacterial complication -- pneumonia, sinusitis or otitis.

Next: How Do I Tell The Difference Between A Head Cold And A Sinus Infection?

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