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Dr. Green
Most people recover from influenza, or the flu, within a week or two. But tens of thousands of people each year do develop serious complications that lead to hospitalization, and in some cases, even death. Captain Miller, can you tell us about some potential complications of the flu?

Captain Miller
Sure thing, Dr. Green. Anyone can develop serious complications from the flu, but there are certain groups that are at particularly high risk. These include:

  • People over the age of 65
  • Children younger than two years old
  • Women who are more than three months pregnant
  • People living in a long-term care facility
  • People with chronic heart, lung, or kidney conditions
  • People with diabetes, and
  • People with a weakened immune system

Potential complications of influenza include:

  • Sinus and ear infections
  • Pneumonia, or infection of the lungs
  • Myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart
  • Encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, which can lead to seizures
  • Meningitis, or inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord
  • Respiratory failure
  • Kidney failure, and
  • Sepsis or septic shock, which is an extreme inflammatory response in the body requiring emergency medical treatment