Six deaths that the flu can cause
The flu season is usually in the fall, winter and early spring. This year, there has been an increase in the number of hospitalizations and severity of the disease among those with influenza.
In most cases, people with the flu recover within a week or two, but in some unfortunate patients, the virus can develop into one of several deadly conditions.
1. Neurological problems
In rare but severe cases, the flu virus can cause an inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
According to Dr. Sarah Jarvis, this condition can make you “feel really bad. People who suffer from it often feel disoriented and pass out.”
Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by the body’s destruction of its own tissues in response to an infection. When infection-fighting processes attack the body, it causes the organs to not function properly and normally.
The condition may be difficult to detect. Dr Sarah said that adults who develop the condition are likely to have “extreme hypothermia, feelings of disorientation, slurred speech, shortness of breath and may pass out.”
“Children have fewer symptoms, but they also pass out more often,” she added.
3. Asthma attacks
For people with asthma, the flu can increase the chance of an asthma attack.
The influenza virus can cause swelling and narrowing of the airways. According to the Asthma and Lung Charitable Association, this can be fatal.
Dr Rachel Ward told the British newspaper The Sun that people with asthma and the flu are more likely to experience shortness of breath, wheezing and increased coughing.
The flu is a common cause of pneumonia, a lung infection.
“Pneumonia can be caused by the flu itself, or you can get it as a secondary bacterial infection after the flu weakens your immune system,” Dr. Jarvis said.
She added: “Some of the common symptoms are shortness of breath, high fever, coughing up blood and feeling very tired.”
And to reduce the chance of contracting a lung infection with the flu, Dr. Rachel suggested taking regular deep breaths to fully expand the chest.
She explained, “Ten an hour is ideal. Also, get up and walk around the house regularly to improve lung expansion. And if you smoke, you’re more likely to get a lung infection, so that’s another reason to stop smoking.”
5. Cardiomyopathy and myocarditis
Cardiomyopathy refers to a group of conditions that affect the structure of the heart, while myocarditis is an inflammation of the wall of the heart muscle that can cause an irregular heartbeat.
Viral infections such as the flu are one of the main causes of illness.
Joel Rose, chief executive of Cardiomyopathy UK, said: “During the winter flu season, it’s important for people to recognize the signs and symptoms of heart disease such as cardiomyopathy and myocarditis. With the spread of flu and colds, people need to listen to their bodies and if they’re worried, they should see or revisit your GP as soon as possible.”
According to the British Heart Association, the main symptom of these conditions is shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, especially with exertion.
Fatigue and swelling of the ankles, feet, legs, abdomen, and veins in the neck are also common symptoms of heart disease.
6. Staphylococcal bacteria a
The US National Health Service says that viral infections, such as the flu, increase the risk of a fatal Streptococcus A infection.
A study in mice found that the flu virus weakens the immune system, meaning that those who become infected with staph bacteria while infected with the flu virus are more likely to contract the deadly staph bacteria.
According to the National Health Service (NHS), there are four main signs of staph to look out for:
Fever (temperature above 38°C)
Severe muscle pain
local muscle pain
redness at the site of the wound