Every year through the fall and winter we begin to hear of alarming numbers of people admitted to hospitals or even dead from the flu. But in reality, the worst of these cases are afflicted with not just the flu, but dangerous complications that have arisen from it.
Common complications like sinus or ear infections are generally treatable and pose little risk to otherwise healthy adults. But more serious complications such as inflammation of the heart, pneumonia or serious dehydration can lead to organ failure or even death, especially in those whose immune system is already compromised by age or illness.
But how do you know if your symptoms are garden variety flu or progressing into something more dangerous?
Normal Signs of Flu
A healthy adult who contracts the flu can expect the following symptoms to occur:
- Chest congestion and cough
- Aches, often severe
- Fatigue or weakness
Additionally, children often complain of digestive upset, though this is less common in adults and seniors.
Symptoms of Something More
In adults, even those who are otherwise healthy, the following symptoms warrant medical care:
- Breathing difficulty
- Chest or abdominal pains
- Sudden dizziness or confusion
- Severe or continuing vomiting
If you only see normal flu symptoms, but they resolve and then return more strongly, that can also be a big red flag.
For children, the following symptoms can be signs of danger:
- Rapid breath
- Changes in skin color
- Fever with a rash
- Refusing to be held or comforted
- Symptoms that resolve and come back worse
In infants, additional red flag symptoms include:
- Inability to eat
- Difficulty breathing
- Crying without tears
- Fewer wet diapers than normal
If you see any of the above symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately, to avoid progression of dangerous complications.
What to Do
If you suspect the flu is becoming something worse, a wait and see attitude can prove dangerous. Instead, get checked out by a medical professional who can diagnose and treat your symptoms properly. Additionally, seniors, infants, pregnant women and those suffering from illnesses such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes should seek treatment at the onset of flu symptoms.
But sitting in a germy waiting room in the middle of a flu outbreak is a less than appealing option, especially when you’re already feeling poorly. Fortunately, there’s a better option. With DispatchHealth, you can get flu treatment at home from an ER-trained team of medical professionals, also deemed this season’s Traveling Flu Crew.
A quick call or interaction with their app will have a team on their way to your home in no time. You can wait where you’re comfortable and avoid the risk of further germs or of contaminating others. They’ll spend, on average, about three times as long with you as clinicians in more traditional settings, to ensure they get the full picture of your health crisis and also to answer any questions you may have. And since they accept most health insurance, including Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare, it’s an affordable option too!
So the next time you or a family member are suffering from flu or other urgent health conditions like sprains, skin conditions, gastrointestinal upset or respiratory difficulty, call in the experts from DispatchHealth. You’ll get friendly, prompt treatment in the comfort of your own home or office.