Health Watch: Flu and Pneumonia

Dr. Cara Hamilton says 'There has been a lot of talk about influenza this year and the fatalities associated with it and for the most part influenza virus does not directly cause fatalities but the complications related to it. Of course it can on it's own at times, but the most common deadly complication is pneumonia. Pneumonia often follows a viral illness so it might start with a runny nose or a cough, congestion sometimes a fever in the beginning. But that fever doesn't typically go away or else is gone a day or two and returns. A cough might worsen shortness of breath might accompany signs of pneumonia should be checked out. If you are worried your child might have pneumonia or someone in your family have them checked out. Typically the provider will do a good thorough examination listening to heart and lungs might order blood work or a chest x-ray to fully evaluate for pneumonia. If pneumonia is diagnosed you'll be prescribed antibiotics and the antibiotics need to be completed in order to ensure that the pneumonia is clearing. If you have concerns see your provider and remember getting the flu shot can still be helpful this time of year and help prevent the flu and complications of pneumonia. This is Dr. Cara Hamilton at Black Hills Pediatrics with your HealthWatch.'