Are You At High Risk for Flu-Related Complications?
Getting the flu usually means spending several days at home away from friends and co-workers. Most healthy people will recover from the flu in about two weeks with proper home care. However, MD Now is advising the Florida community that some individuals are at a higher risk of complications, making it essential for them to seek medical care immediately if they display flu symptoms. The first 48 to 72 hours are crucial. During that time, we can prescribe antiviral meds to help treat the flu. The following groups are considered high risk when it comes to flu complications:
Children under six months old cannot receive flu shots, making it essential for parents and family members to get vaccinated. While all children under two years old are at a higher risk of flu, those who were born prematurely or have pre-existing conditions are especially vulnerable to baby flu.
Even a normally healthy child can become dangerously sick with baby flu, so if your child is sick, it’s important to monitor his or her symptoms. If your baby becomes abnormally fussy, has a fever, or refuses fluids, these are warning signs that should not be ignored. Other symptoms of baby flu include rashes, a bluish tint to the skin, and rapid breathing.
Call your physician or visit the nearest MD Now Urgent Care center immediately if you suspect your infant has influenza. Quick treatment can often prevent complications from developing. Please note, MD Now providers evaluate patients ages 3 months and up.
2. Toddlers and Children Under 5
Young children under five years old are at a higher risk of serious complications caused by the flu. The flu in toddlers is much more dangerous than the common cold; each year, thousands of children are hospitalized due to flu. According to the CDC, flu-related hospitalizations among children under the age of five ranged from 7,000 to 26,000.
The flu in toddlers and young children should be treated quickly—especially if there are pre-existing conditions present. Children with asthma, diabetes, and disorders of the nervous system are especially susceptible to complications.
Remember, the best way to prevent the flu in toddlers is to ensure that all children are properly vaccinated. The flu shot is recommended for most young children over six months of age.
3. Expectant Mothers
When a woman becomes pregnant, changes in her immune system, lungs, and heart make her more susceptible to complications from the flu. Women up to two weeks post-partum are also more vulnerable to flu complications. The flu in pregnancy may also be harmful to the woman’s developing baby, since fever is sometimes associated with neural tube defects and other problems during birth.
Expectant mothers are strongly advised to receive vaccinations to prevent the flu in pregnancy. Not only do vaccines protect the mother from illness, they also can provide the baby with protection several months after birth. While the nasal spray vaccine isn’t recommended for those who are pregnant, the flu shot has an excellent safety record over many years.
If you’re displaying symptoms of the flu in pregnancy, call your doctor or urgent care clinic right away. You may require antiviral drugs that can lessen your symptoms and prevent complications.
Seniors over the age of 65 are much more vulnerable to complications than younger individuals. Immune systems weaken with age, making the flu in seniors a serious medical problem. In fact, between 71 and 85 percent of influenza-related deaths are associated with the flu in seniors over age 65. Seniors are much more likely to face a hospital visit due to flu-related complications.
The flu in seniors is especially common at long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. Healthcare workers and new residents can introduce the flu to the community, which can spread rapidly among residents. Because of this, vaccination is strongly recommended for those over the age of 65. Seniors can receive high-dose vaccines, which are formulated to protect against the strains most likely to cause outbreaks.
5. Those with Pre-Existing Conditions
The flu can make existing health conditions worse, including asthma or congestive heart failure. Those with neurological disorders, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and stroke are also at risk of flu complications. Disorders of the liver or blood can also make flu-related complications more dangerous.
In most cases, flu shots can be administered even if a pre-existing condition is present. However, there are exceptions, including people with compromised immune systems and severe allergies to flu vaccines.
While these groups remain the most susceptible to complications caused by flu, anyone can become dangerously ill without proper treatment. If your flu symptoms are severe, see your healthcare provider or MD Now Urgent Care center for relief. And remember—the best way to prevent the spread of flu to the most vulnerable is to get vaccinated. MD Now Urgent Care is currently offering influenza vaccines at all of its locations. Shots are available every day, including holidays. No appointments are necessary.
To learn more about our urgent care centers, visit www.MDNow.com.
MD Now® Urgent Care Walk-In Medical Centers is the leading provider of fast and affordable urgent care to adults and children in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties. Our state-of-the-art, walk-in medical centers are open seven days a week to deliver an affordable and convenient alternative to long emergency room wait times and the limited hours of family physicians. No appointment is necessary and major insurance plans are accepted. In addition to providing a comprehensive range of urgent care services to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries, our multiple locations offer digital x-rays, EKG, lab testing, physicals, immunizations, vaccines, occupational medicine, travel medicine and selected primary care services. Find the medical care you need with the convenience you want at MD Now. Online: www.MDNow.com.