Skip the Line with Priority Access
100+ WALK-IN LOCATIONS
OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK

What Are Some Possible Complications from Leaving the Flu Untreated?

Picture of a patient talking to a doctor.

Most people recover from the flu within a few days to two weeks. For others, however, the flu can be serious, or even life-threatening. Young children, older adults, and the chronically ill are particularly vulnerable to flu complications.

For those at high risk, it’s especially important to get a seasonal flu shot to avoid serious flu complications. If you’ve already become infected by the flu virus, you should consult your healthcare provider about a flu antiviral drug. If taken early enough—ideally within 48 hours of onset—the medication should ease symptoms and shorten your recovery time.

What Are the Most Common Flu Symptoms?

Unlike a cold, the flu usually comes on suddenly. Although actual symptoms may vary, the most common flu symptoms include:

  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and/or chills (in some, but not all cases)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (most common in children)

What Flu Complications Should I Be Concerned About?

In addition to common flu symptoms such as a sore throat, runny nose, and muscle aches, some people, especially those at a high risk for complications, may experience:

  • Ear infections
  • Sinusitis
  • Worsened asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Seizures
  • Premature labor or delivery for pregnant women

Additional signs and symptoms of flu complications include severe weakness or unsteadiness, a fever or cough that gets better before returning, and a worsening of chronic medical conditions like congestive heart failure or diabetes. You may also experience other, possibly severe symptoms not listed. If so, consult a medical professional.

Although sinus and ear infections usually fall on the moderate side, complications such as pneumonia, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), and organ failure can be serious, and even deadly. Every year, the flu claims thousands of lives in the U.S. The CDC estimates that 90 percent of these flu-related deaths occur in those 65 and older.

What’s the Best Method of Flu Prevention?

The best method of flu prevention is the flu vaccine. Each year, a vaccine is developed to protect against the types of flu viruses expected to be circulating during the upcoming season. The CDC recommends that everyone six months or older be vaccinated.

Getting vaccinated is particularly important for those groups at a high risk for flu complications. These include:

  • Children under five
  • Children under 18 who are taking aspirin or other salicylate medications
  • Adults 65 and older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with serious medical conditions
  • American Indian and Native Alaskan people
  • Those undergoing chemotherapy or taking other immunosuppressive agents
  • The severely obese
  • Nursing home residents
  • Adults and children with heart or lung disease
  • Those with compromised immune systems

By getting vaccinated, these groups are not only protecting themselves from the flu virus, they’re protecting against serious complications that could result in hospitalization, or even death.

What Will Happen If I Leave the Flu Untreated?

For most healthy people, the flu will clear up on its own within a few days or weeks. For those at a high risk for complications, however, the flu should be carefully monitored.

For example, those with asthma may experience more severe asthma attacks with the flu. Conditions like chronic heart, lung, and kidney disorders may grow worse. For some, a flu-related infection in the respiratory tract can lead to sepsis, an extreme and potentially life-threatening complication.

If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms, you should seek medical care immediately:

  • Rapid breathing, wheezing, or breathing difficulty
  • A high fever with shaking and chills, or one that doesn’t improve with medication
  • Coughing up blood-tinged mucus
  • Bluish or gray skin tone
  • Dehydration
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Mental confusion
  • Seizures
  • Severe vomiting
  • Listlessness, irritability, or a lack of appetite in infants

A fever of 104 F or higher in children over 12 weeks of age, or any fever in infants under 12 weeks, should be checked out by a medical professional. Other troubling signs in children include bluish lips or face, difficulty breathing, or a refusal to walk (may indicate severe muscle pain).

Where Can I Find Flu Treatment Near Me?

Your local FastMed provider is available for flu treatment during extended hours, 365 days a year. Keep in mind, the flu antiviral drug is most effective when taken within 48 hours after the onset of symptoms.

In order to avoid getting the flu, visit your local FastMed today to get your no-cost flu shot when covered by most insurance plans.* You can also self-pay for only $30. We’re available extended hours, 365 days a year to help keep you and your family healthy this flu season.

Most people recover from the flu within a few days to two weeks. For others, however, the flu can be serious, or even life-threatening. Young children, older adults, and the chronically ill are particularly vulnerable to flu complications.

For those at high risk, it’s especially important to get a seasonal flu shot to avoid serious flu complications. If you’ve already become infected by the flu virus, you should consult your healthcare provider about a flu antiviral drug. If taken early enough—ideally within 48 hours of onset—the medication should ease symptoms and shorten your recovery time.

What Are the Most Common Flu Symptoms?

Unlike a cold, the flu usually comes on suddenly. Although actual symptoms may vary, the most common flu symptoms include:

  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and/or chills (in some, but not all cases)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (most common in children)

What Flu Complications Should I Be Concerned About?

In addition to common flu symptoms such as a sore throat, runny nose, and muscle aches, some people, especially those at a high risk for complications, may experience:

  • Ear infections
  • Sinusitis
  • Worsened asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Seizures
  • Premature labor or delivery for pregnant women

Additional signs and symptoms of flu complications include severe weakness or unsteadiness, a fever or cough that gets better before returning, and a worsening of chronic medical conditions like congestive heart failure or diabetes. You may also experience other, possibly severe symptoms not listed. If so, consult a medical professional.

Although sinus and ear infections usually fall on the moderate side, complications such as pneumonia, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), and organ failure can be serious, and even deadly. Every year, the flu claims thousands of lives in the U.S. The CDC estimates that 90 percent of these flu-related deaths occur in those 65 and older.

What’s the Best Method of Flu Prevention?

The best method of flu prevention is the flu vaccine. Each year, a vaccine is developed to protect against the types of flu viruses expected to be circulating during the upcoming season. The CDC recommends that everyone six months or older be vaccinated.

Getting vaccinated is particularly important for those groups at a high risk for flu complications. These include:

  • Children under five
  • Children under 18 who are taking aspirin or other salicylate medications
  • Adults 65 and older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with serious medical conditions
  • American Indian and Native Alaskan people
  • Those undergoing chemotherapy or taking other immunosuppressive agents
  • The severely obese
  • Nursing home residents
  • Adults and children with heart or lung disease
  • Those with compromised immune systems

By getting vaccinated, these groups are not only protecting themselves from the flu virus, they’re protecting against serious complications that could result in hospitalization, or even death.

What Will Happen If I Leave the Flu Untreated?

For most healthy people, the flu will clear up on its own within a few days or weeks. For those at a high risk for complications, however, the flu should be carefully monitored.

For example, those with asthma may experience more severe asthma attacks with the flu. Conditions like chronic heart, lung, and kidney disorders may grow worse. For some, a flu related infection in the respiratory tract can lead to sepsis, an extreme and potentially life-threatening complication.

If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms, you should seek medical care immediately:

  • Rapid breathing, wheezing, or breathing difficulty
  • A high fever with shaking and chills, or one that doesn’t improve with medication
  • Coughing up blood-tinged mucus
  • Bluish or gray skin tone
  • Dehydration
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Mental confusion
  • Seizures
  • Severe vomiting
  • Listlessness, irritability, or a lack of appetite in infants

A fever of 104 F or higher in children over 12 weeks of age, or any fever in infants under 12 weeks, should be checked out by a medical professional. Other troubling signs in children include bluish lips or face, difficulty breathing, or a refusal to walk (may indicate severe muscle pain).

Where Can I Find Flu Treatment Near Me?

Your local FastMed provider is available for flu treatment during extended hours, 365 days a year. Keep in mind, the flu antiviral drug is most effective when taken within 48 hours after the onset of symptoms.

In order to avoid getting the flu, visit your local FastMed today to get your no-cost flu shot when covered by most insurance plans.* You can also self-pay for only $30. We’re available extended hours, 365 days a year to help keep you and your family healthy this flu season.

*Flu shots available while supplies last. Patients with private insurance will have their flu vaccine billed through their insurance, and there will be no co-pay unless otherwise required by their plan. Flu shots are covered through most, but not all, major insurances. Coverage depends on your plan, see clinic for coverage details. All required payments, including your co-pay, coinsurance, and/or deductible, are due at the time of service. Flu shots available at FastMed clinics are not covered under Medicaid.

About FastMed

FastMed Urgent Care owns and operates more than 100 locations across Arizona, North Carolina and Texas, providing a broad range of acute/episodic and preventive healthcare services 365 days per year. FastMed also provides workers’ compensation services at all of its clinics, and family and sports medicine services at select locations. FastMed has successfully treated more than 5.8 million patients since the opening of its first clinic in 2005, and is the largest urgent care operator to be awarded the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval® for accreditation in healthcare quality and safety in ambulatory healthcare. For more information about locations, services, hours of operation, insurance and prices, visit www.FastMed.com.

Sign up for Email Offers

Sign up to receive coupons, health tips, and more–directly to your inbox.