Influenza, or as we know it, “The Flu”, is a highly infectious virus that spreads through the body via the respiratory tract, inducing symptoms ranging from a severe fever to violent coughing. In extreme cases, the flu causes patients to suffer extreme fatigue and even experience frequent vomiting. Many strains of the virus are potent enough to prevent patients from going about their daily routines, making it important for them to remain at home, as the virus is extremely contagious and will rapidly destroy a workplace’s productivity.
Because of how prevalent the flu is – and because we closely relate it to the less-severe common cold – we tend to underestimate its devastating potential. The flu wreaks havoc on the immune system, which will in turn weaken it and thus, prevent it from fighting off infections. From there, the immune system can wind up vulnerable to a wide range of infectious diseases, including pneumonia. This is very common with older patients, as the older somebody is, the more susceptible they are to contract diseases like pneumonia.
Pneumonia is a lung infection that attacks either one or both of a patient’s lungs. The lungs get infected when a surplus of foreign bacteria infiltrates the body and attaches itself to the lungs. This then inflames the lungs’ alveoli’s, which leads to a build up fluid inside the lungs. When the lungs get congested with fluid, it makes it difficult to breathe, which can present a number of problems, mainly being the depriving of oxygen to the patient’s blood. While the patient’s air passages and immune system are usually capable of filtering out the majority of this bacteria, a compromised immune system will negate any of the body’s natural defense mechanisms. This is essentially how the flu can cause pneumonia (among a multitude of other serious infections), as the flu weakens the immune system into a state that’s incapable of defending itself.
We at AFC Urgent Care North Andover understand how serious influenza can be, that’s why we make our services readily available seven days a week. When our Providers treat the flu, we make sure to stop the flu in its tracks far before it can ever reach the state where it’s weak enough to develop bacterial infections. Our team of Providers treat the flu by first diagnosing a patient who’s exhibiting flu symptoms. If the patient is in fact suffering from the flu, we initially try to provide the guidance to them so their bodies can fight the infection itself. If necessary, we can prescribe the patient with any necessary medication (antivirals) to outright kill the virus.
Visit us at our location at 129 Turnpike St. in North Andover, MA. For more information, call us at 978-470-0800.