Are You at Risk for Serious Flu Complications?

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People at increased risk for severe flu complications, including pregnant women and people who are morbidly obese, should be tested for influenza and receive antiviral therapy as soon as possible if they have the flu and symptoms that warrant hospitalization. That’s according to updated guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), a national association of health care professionals who specialize in infectious diseases.

The updated guidelines recommend using more accurate flu tests that provide results in under an hour, instead of rapid-influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs), which are fast but produce false-negative results in about 30 percent of outpatients. IDSA also recommends administering antivirals to high-risk patients, even if they’ve had flu symptoms like fever, cough, muscle aches, chills, runny nose, or sore throat for more than two days.

The following people are considered to have a higher-than-normal risk for serious flu complications:

  • Those with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher
  • Children under age 2
  • Women who are pregnant or have recently given birth
  • People with chronic conditions like heart, lung, kidney, or liver disease; asthma; and neurological disorders
  • Nursing home residents
  • American Indians and native Alaskans

Sourced from: Clinical Infectious Diseases