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.
When Gina Gallo, a school librarian in Lacombe, La., gets sick, she can take
care of herself. She gets her own medicine, makes her own food, and "deals with
it," as she puts it. But when her fiancé gets a cold, she says he has "a
complete system breakdown."
"The world stops and the whining is incessant," she says. "I am expected to
bring him food, take care of him, and generally treat him like the baby that he
Gallo's fiancé declined to talk with WebMD for this story. Their Mars-Venus
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.