The flu virus can take its toll on anyone, but if you suffer from a chronic illness such as an auto immune disease, you have a higher risk for flu complications.
Complications can include a variety of illnesses, some minor. For example, some people battling the flu develop secondary infections. These can include bronchitis and ear infections. Both conditions are treatable with antibiotics and do not cause long-term problems. However, in rare cases, the flu can progress and turn into pneumonia.
Pneumonia is a serious, potentially life-threatening infection. Difficulty breathing is a classic sign of pneumonia, and if you develop this symptom while battling the flu, seek immediate medical attention.
There are, however, ways to protect yourself – it all starts with avoiding the flu.
- Get an annual flu vaccine. Early fall is the best time to receive a vaccination. This way, you’re protected before flu season peaks.
- Disinfect your home. Regularly disinfect doorknobs, light switches and telephones to kill the flu virus.
- Avoid sick people. If you suspect that a friend or family member has the flu, keep this person at arm’s length until their symptoms improve.