It is well known that there are literally hundreds of kinds of cold you can catch and that there is really no cure for the common cold; the cold is something that will resolve itself given time. The flu, the other common seasonal malady is also something that, like the cold is able to lay you low, but will resolve itself given time.
Between 5 and 20% of the population is likely to have the flu each year and while the flu will likely make you very sick for several days for a vast majority, there is not hospitalization required due to any complications that may occur and death resulting from flu is even rarer.
This is true of the common cold as well; however there are complications that could stem from either the flu or the common cold that could ultimately be dangerous.
Those who are immune compromised, people over the age of 50 and children aged 6 and younger are the ones most likely to have these common ailments develop into more serious complications, such as:
- Pneumonia is the most common complication that can stem from a cold or the flu. This is usually characterized by a productive or moist chough, fatigue, chest pain, fever, chills, headache, nausea, feelings of confusion and a bluish discoloration of the skin about the mouth and lips.
- A persistent cough that lasts for a long duration, i.e. more than two weeks could be indicative of bronchitis so if this symptom on your flu or cold infection lasts very long, it would become necessary to investigate this and obtain appropriate treatment.
- Some cold and flu infections can spread to the ear and result in an ear infection, which though more common among children may also be seen in adults. This could mean a fairly painful ear condition that requires treatment.
- A sinus infection is another complication that could arise from flu or cold. This happens when the mucous in the cavities of the sinuses gets infected resulting in quite significant pain and the need for proper treatment.
The thing to watch out with a cold or the flu is that the common symptoms of these conditions are not getting worse or getting exacerbated in any way. If there is any significant change in the condition or the symptoms then there is reason for concern and investigations must be carried out to determine what is causing the symptoms to worsen.