18 Mar How does the flu kill?
Influenza starts with the characteristic signs of high fever, shaking, chills, headache and aching muscles; but it can quickly progress to causing life threatening complications.
The influenza virus overwhelms the immune system, causing it to go into overdrive, and the resulting inflammation can damage the lungs to the extent where oxygen cannot pass into the blood.
As the body resists the influenza virus, the sufferer is susceptible to a host of secondary bacterial infections.
Even though your chronic conditions may be well managed, Influenza worsens other medical conditions. Flu vaccination prevents illness and suffering, decreases hospitalization and saves lives. But as well as protecting you from influenza, research shows that the vaccination also decreases the risk of a major cardiovascular event by one third. A recent Australian study showed that the risk for a heart attack is 17 times higher during the 7 days after catching the flu. This highlights the importance of having the flu vaccine if you have a heart condition.
People with diabetes get the flu more frequently and more severely. If you have diabetes – even if your sugar levels are well controlled – you are at a higher risk of serious influenza complications. It is very important to take preventive measures – speak to your healthcare professional about having the annual influenza vaccination.
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