Most people who get the flu will recover
in a few days to less than 2 weeks.
But there can be some serious complications.
Moderate complications include
sinus and ear infections,
and these usually happen in the second
or third week after the viral
flu illness has passed.
The patient will develop a
secondary bacterial infection.
And I'm always telling my patients
when I see them in the first
week of their flu illness,
how long they can expect to
get over their flu illness,
and then what sorts of complications
to watch for in the future,
such as, you know, if you develop
ear pain or sinus pressure,
or you know, a new fever after day 10,
then we really need to
see you back to check
for these secondary moderate complications.
It's possible to also develop serious
complications from the influenza virus
and these can be life-threatening
and can result in death.
So, pneumonia is a common
and it can either be viral,
bacterial, or a combination of both.
The patient can also develop myocarditis,
which is inflammation of the heart.
The patient can develop encephalitis,
which is inflammation of the brain.
Myositis or rhabdomyolysis is
inflammation of the muscles.
And also, multi-organ failure, including
the respiratory and kidney systems.
The flu virus infection of
the respiratory tract
can trigger an extreme inflammatory
response in the body
and can lead to sepsis,
which is the body's life-threatening
response to an infection.
The flu virus can also exacerbate
chronic medical conditions,
such as asthma and chronic heart disease.
Complications in children
can include fast breathing
or troubled breathing, bluish
lips or face, retractions,
which is where they're sucking in with
their ribs to help move more air,
chest pain, severe muscle pain, dehydration,
and the patient may not be alert or
interacting well when they're awake.
Children can experience
seizures, a really high fever,
and you worry in < 12 week
olds with any fever.
The fever or cough that improve,
but then return or worsen,
and this is when you're starting to wonder
does that child have a secondary pneumonia?
And then, of course, worsening of
their chronic medical condition.