Treating the Flu in People with Health Risks
Treating Influenza (Flu) in People with Health or Age Factors That Increase Their Risk of Complications
Treating the flu in people with health risks facts*
*Treating the flu in people with health risks facts medical author: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Do you have Asthma, Diabetes or Chronic Heart Disease?
If so, you are at high risk of serious illness if you get the flu. In past flu seasons, as many as 80 percent of adults hospitalized from flu complications had a long-term health condition; as did about 50 percent of hospitalized children. Asthma, diabetes and chronic heart disease were the most common of these. This fact sheet provides information about treating influenza in high risk people with prescription influenza antiviral drugs. Treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
Why am I at greater risk of serious flu complications?
Your medical condition makes it more likely that you will get complications from the flu, like pneumonia. The flu also can make long-term health problems worse, even if they are well managed. People with asthma or chronic congestive heart failure may experience worsening of these conditions. Diabetes (type 1 and 2) can make the immune system less able to fight the flu. Also, illness can raise blood sugar levels.
Can the flu be treated?
Yes. There are prescription medications called "antiviral drugs" that can be used to treat influenza illness. Antiviral drugs fight influenza viruses in your body. They are different from antibiotics, which fight against bacterial infections.
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