The Flu – Who Is At Risk and What To Do

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

“Anyone can get flu, but certain people are more likely to develop serious flu illness that can result in hospitalization or even death. Those people include:

  • Children younger than 5 years, but especially younger than 2 years old
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

Also, people who have certain chronic medical conditions, including:

  • Asthma
  • Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions (including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy [seizure disorders], stroke, intellectual disability [mental retardation], moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury)
  • Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)
  • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
  • Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
  • Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)
  • Kidney disorders
  • Liver disorders
  • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)
  • Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids)
  • People younger than 19 years of age who are taking aspirin or salicylate-containing medications
  • People with extreme obesity (body mass index [BMI} of 40 or greater)”

Children – Complications From Flu

According to the CDC:

“Complications from flu among children in younger than 5 years old can include:

  • Pneumonia: an illness where the lungs get infected and inflamed
  • Dehydration: when a child’s body loses too much water and salts, often because fluid losses are greater than from fluid intake)
  • Worsening of long-term medical problems like heart disease or asthma
  • Brain dysfunction such as encephalopathy
  • Sinus problems and ear infections
  • In rare cases, flu complications can lead to death.”

Pregnant Women – When To Seek Urgent Care

According to the CDC:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to arouse
  • Seizures
  • Not urinating
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe weakness or unsteadiness
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • High fever that is not responding to Tylenol® (or store brand equivalent)
  • Decreased or no movement of your baby

Things To Do To Prevent The Flu

In the recent flu alert, the Ministry of Health provided these tips:

  • Avoid close contact to prevent getting sick too
  • Stay home when sick
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water to help protect you from germs
  • Keep dirty hands away from your eyes, mouth and nose
  • Practice good health habits – exercise, eat healthy, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids.  See here for 5 Cold and Flu Prevention Tips

See here for CDC links related to the flu.