When is the flu dangerous?

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The symptoms of flu such as headaches, body aches and lack of energy can make life difficult. Once the flu strikes in some individuals, the virus has the potential to become dangerous.

Who are at risk for a severe case of flu?


Due to weaker immune systems, children below age 5 or those below 2 are prone to influenza. Every year, thousands of children younger than 5 years end up hospitalized for flu complications.

Pregnant women

If difficulty breathing or shortness of breath occurs, it is vital to seek medical attention.

The changes in the immune system, lungs and heart during pregnancy can put women at risk for a severe case of flu. This sensitivity can last for up to 2 weeks after giving birth. The condition can trigger issues with pregnancy such as premature delivery.

Older adults age 65 and over

As an individual grows older, the immune system becomes weak. It is estimated that a high percentage of cases of seasonal flu among the elderly over 65 years old resulted to death.

Those who have other health conditions

It is important to note that the flu weakens the body and can worsen any existing health issue which is why those who have certain conditions have a difficult time coping with the virus.

Conditions that the virus can aggravate include the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Liver and kidney disorders
  • Severe obesity
  • Blood disorders
  • Declining immune system due to certain diseases or medications

If an individual experience flu-like symptoms and have any of these health conditions, a doctor should be consulted so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

When to seek emergency care?

A usual case of flu typically occurs abruptly and lasts from 1-2 weeks. The symptoms include fever or the chills, runny or stuffed nose, cough, headache, sore throat, muscle aches and fatigue.

Among those who are prone to the virus, serious complications might occur such as bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus or ear infections as well as seizures.

The warning indications that necessitates immediate medical attention include the following:

  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Abrupt dizziness
  • Symptoms that subside and then recur with fever and worse cough
  • Severe dehydration

Among babies and children, you have to watch out for difficulty breathing, high fever with rash, lack of tears while crying, poor or no urine output and bluish skin.


It is recommended that children starting 6 months and older should be given the flu vaccine yearly. Based on studies conducted, the vaccine works by reducing the risk for flu. It also makes the condition less severe as well as protecting against dangerous complications.

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