Canadian Lung Association Blog

Influenza: What are underlying medical conditions? And when should I go to the doctor?

Father Checking Son's Forehead for Fever

Sometimes health information can be confusing.  Authorities are talking about people with underlying health conditions, but what does that mean?

Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications.  According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the people with the following health concerns are more at risk for complications:

  • asthma
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • heart
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • diabetes
  • who are morbidly obese
  • a weakened immune system from medication or conditions

If you have a medical condition and experience flu symptoms, seek medical attention sooner rather than later.

I think I have the flu – should I go to the doctor?

For people with mild cases of H1N1 flu, doctors probably won’t give any prescription medicine. The treatment is just to stay home, and stay away from other people.  Rest, drink plenty of fluids and take acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol©) or ibuprofen (for example, Advil) to relieve the aches and fever. Never give children aspirin. Mild H1N1 flu may go away on its own after a week or two.

Click on the picture below to read about severe flu warning signs in children & adults.

FLU Factsheet 2014


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