There are several signs that a mild case of the flu may be turning into something more serious, such as pneumonia. These include:
- High fever (above 101°F) that lasts for more than a few days.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
- Chest pain or pressure.
- Persistent weakness or fatigue.
- Confusion or disorientation.
- Bluish lips or face.
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
If you are having trouble taking deep breaths or are struggling to catch your breath, this could be a sign of pneumonia. It could be a sign that your body is not getting enough oxygen. Shortness of breath may also be accompanied by wheezing and a feeling of suffocation.
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
If you feel like you have an elephant sitting on your chest, or if you experience chest pain when you breathe or cough, this could also be a sign of pneumonia.
Bluish lips or face
A lack of oxygen in the blood can cause the skin to turn blue. If you notice that your lips or face are looking a little on the blue side, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Confusion, dizziness or altered mental state
If you are having trouble thinking clearly, remembering things, or feeling disoriented, this could be a sign of pneumonia or another serious complication. Not being able to stand up or sit upright without feeling dizzy should also make you concerned.
While it is normal to have a fever with the flu, a fever that lasts for an extended period of time could be a sign of a more serious infection. If the fever persists for more than three days and is accompanied by a cough and they disappear then recur over and over, it’s best to speak to a healthcare provider.
Severe muscle pain
Aches and pains when you are fighting off the flu are expected, but severe pain lasts longer than five days then you should see a doctor.
If you’re not peeing or are peeing infrequently, this could be a sign that you’re very dehydrated. Dehydration is an emergency if it’s accompanied by feeling weak, dizzy, confused and having blood in your vomit.
Worsening chronic conditions
The flu can be more dangerous for people with pre-existing or underlying medical conditions. For example people with asthma, diabetes or heart disease. If you feel like your flu is worsening your existing illness, you should consider speaking to your doctor.
Other potential warning signs include nausea, vomiting, and dehydration. In addition, if you have underlying health conditions, such as heart or lung disease, you may be at a higher risk for complications from the flu and should seek medical attention promptly.
Certain groups of people are at higher risk of complications from the flu, including those with underlying medical conditions, pregnant women, and those 65 years of age or older. If you fall into one of these categories, it is especially important to seek medical attention if you experience any of the above symptoms. We should all keep in mind that you shouldn’t wait until you’re severely sick before seeking medical attention. If you can’t afford to see a doctor, even your local pharmacy should do. The flu can escalate really quickly so always take it seriously.
It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list and that other symptoms may appear, if unsure, always consult a health care professional.
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