If you have a chronic medical condition such as heart disease, asthma, or diabetes, it's important to call your doctor when the first flu symptoms occur.
Each year in the U.S., about 3,000 to 49,000 people die from causes related to influenza (flu) and over 200,000 are hospitalized due to complications from flu. These complications can include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. When kids with asthma or diabetes get flu, they are at a much higher risk for serious complications such as pneumonia.
You can take all the precautions in the world, but sometimes the flu sneaks around your defenses. So what do you do when someone in your house has the flu -- or even swine flu?
To give you an idea, here's a countdown of five average days with the flu. Keep in mind that this rundown is based on a typical case of seasonal flu. There's still a lot we don't know about swine flu. But so far, its symptoms seem to be pretty similar to those of common seasonal flu viruses.
How is COPD -- emphysema and chronic bronchitis -- worsened by flu?
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis, known together as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), affect over 12 million adults in the U.S. Both conditions are marked by obstruction to airflow that interferes with breathing. Like asthma or any lung disease, COPD is worsened by the flu. If you have COPD, it's important to learn what you can do to avoid respiratory problems.
Flu and lung infections pose greater dangers for people with heart disease. Lung infections prevent people from taking in oxygen as efficiently as they should. This makes the heart work harder to pump oxygen-rich blood through the body. This extra work can be dangerous for people with heart disease.