The flu can affect people in different ways. For some, it may last only a week or so, but for others it can stick around much longer and may even cause further complications. Some of these complications may be mild, where others can be life threatening if not taken care of properly. Watch for post-flu symptoms and contact a doctor for a follow up exam.
It is common for people to feel weak and fatigued after having the flu. The flu can take a toll on a person, depleting the body of any energy they may have had before the onset of the virus. Fatigue is a common post-flu symptom; however, after a few weeks, the energy levels rise and the person will feel less tired. Be sure to eat a well balanced diet to promote the healing process. Get plenty of rest and drink eight glasses of water a day if possible, to keep hydrated in the post-flu stage.
Coughing is usually a post-flu symptom and may stay around for weeks at a time. If it persists for more than six weeks, it is time to make an appointment with the doctor. The cough is caused from a post nasal drip, a possible result of the flu virus. The coughing can become worse at night or when lying down. Relief may be found in decongestants and antihistamines. Elevating the head while sleeping can help as well.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting may be a post-flu symptom. These symptoms may detect Reye's Syndrome, which is common in children who are getting over the flu. The child may also experience mental changes, such as delirium and confusion. Reye's Syndrome is associated with aspirin use, which is often given to children who experience pain and fever relating to the flu. To avoid Reye's Syndrome from developing after the flu, consult a pediatrician before administering aspirin.
Complications can arise from the flu virus itself. If bacteria are present, pneumonia can set in and weaken a person's lungs. Post-flu symptoms such as chest pain, a high fever, shaking, chills and a cough that produces thick yellowish green mucus, may be a sign of pneumonia. This can be dangerous, especially in the elderly and those who have a weak immune system. If these post-flu symptoms are present, consult a doctor immediately.
Following the flu, children may develop a wheezing cough, called the croup. Post-flu symptoms of this complication may be a barking cough, mild fever and a runny nose. The tissue around the voice box and airways become swollen, affecting the breathing. A child's airway (windpipe) is narrow and when the airway becomes swollen it may produce a wheezing sound when the child breathes. The croup can be frightening for the parent and the child, however, most times it is not a serious condition.