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The flu is an illness we have all contracted at some point in time, and it usually goes away in a couple of days, with some quality rest, over the counter medication and numerous possible home remedies. However, believe it or not, there are times when the flu, if not given adequate medical assistance, can even pose a threat to your health, and even your life!

When the Flu can be more serious

We all know the common symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, runny nose, irritable throat, watery eyes etc. Check for a concoction of the following symptoms that may point to you needing medical assistance.
  • Shortness of Breath: If you find yourself constantly out of breath and need for rest.
  • Chest or abdominal pain: If pains in the chest or abdomen persist, it may need medical attention
  • Nausea or sudden dizziness: If you feel dizzy when standing up, or your body is suddenly struck by waves of nausea
  • Confusion: If you find yourself being confused or disoriented, you
  • Severe vomiting : In case of persistent vomiting, you would want to know the cause of it.
  • Recurring and progressively aggressive flu, cold and fever: If you have had the flu, which then got better, but returned aggressively with a cold or fever, you will want to get medical attention, immediately.
  • Swelling in the mouth or throat: Swelling in the mouth and throat region should be examined by a specialist immediately.
  • Dehydration: If your body is constantly dehydrated, you will need professional help.
In the case of children, it is always best not to take chances and get them shown to the doctor. However, look for the following symptoms to indicate urgent medical assistance:
  • Bluish undertone to the skin: A blue tone may be a sign of lack of oxygen in the bloodstream. This must be shown immediately
  • Fever with rash: If the child has a persistent fever and rashes, go to the hospital
  • Irritability: Children usually express discomfort or pain in the form of irritability and tantrums. If you suspect the child is unwell, get a second opinion from a medical specialist.
  • Refusal to eat: When the child refuses to eat or loses appetite, it should be a tended to immediately.
If you feel like your symptoms are flu related, but not an emergency, it is best to make an appointment with your primary physician at the earliest, rather than visit the ER. This is because, the flu, being a very communicable disease, can easily attack your body, giving you an ailment you may not have even had in the first place.

Are you at Risk?

While anyone can catch the flu, the following people are more susceptible to it than others:
  • Young children
  • Adults above the age of 65
  • Pregnant women
  • People suffering from a chronic illness
  • Smokers
  • Diabetic patients
  • Obese people

Complications of the Flu

It may shock you to know that while the flu is common, it is also a serious illness that kills up to a thousand people a year!

Most times, it is because they develop secondary infections while down with the flu. This can include ear or sinus infections, bronchitis and pneumonia. If you already suffer from breathing problems or heart conditions, they may be magnified when you are suffering from the flu.


Now that you know what to look out for, pay close attention he next time you are down with the flu to better judge whether you need home remedies, the ER or an appointment with your primary doctor.