This Is What Happens When The Flu Goes Untreated

When coughing, body aches, and fever come on suddenly, you may suspect that you have the flu. The flu, also known as influenza, is a contagious viral infection of the respiratory system, according to the Mayo Clinic. The influenza virus can spread through droplets that enter the air whenever someone who has the infection coughs, talks, or sneezes. The virus can even enter your body when you touch a contaminated surface and touch your face afterwards. 

Unfortunately, there is no cure for the flu, according to WebMD. Therefore, many people treat their flu symptoms at home. Getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated with soups and water, using a humidifier or saline nose drops, sucking on lozenges, and using over-the-counter medication for pain and fever are just a few ways that people fight the flu at home. When flu symptoms persist or are left untreated, it can lead to severe health complications.

The flu may lead to hospitalization if left untreated

If you have a healthy immune system, flu symptoms generally subside on their own after about five to seven days, according to Harvard Health Publishing. However, there are some populations that are at higher risk for having complications from influenza. Those populations include people over 65, young children, pregnant women, people with a body mass index over 39, and those who have a weakened immune system. A review article in the Cellular Immunology journal highlights how inflammation puts older adults at risk for complications in multiple organs of the body.

According to Healthline, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication like Tamiflu, Relenza, or Rapivab to help you fight the virus, especially if you are at high risk for complications. Antiviral medications can help to slow down the infection process and decrease symptoms.

If you decide to not treat your flu symptoms with home remedies or an antiviral, it can lead to a health condition that may require hospitalization. Some of those complications include pneumonia, cardiac conditions, bronchitis, asthma attacks, dizziness, chest pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. If your flu symptoms persist, it is best to see a doctor to avoid health complications.