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Common cold and flu complications

Health • by Ryno Ellis • 31 May 2019
Having a cold or flu is no fun and it can knock you off your feet for days or even weeks. But what’s even worse is when the common cold or influenza leads to a secondary infection like pneumonia, sinusitis or bronchitis.

The common cold or flu generally lasts no longer than two weeks. If your symptoms persist and change, then you could be suffering from a secondary infection. It’s important to know the symptoms so that you’ll be able to tell when a common cold has turned into something potentially dangerous.

Here are some complications that could arise:


Bronchitis can be identified by a nagging and sometimes very painful cough that lasts for weeks. It’s very important to see your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:


Pneumonia is a very serious disease that generally occurs following a cold or flu infection. It’s a lung infection with a productive (or wet) cough which is caused by fluids or puss that collect in the lung sacks, inhibiting them from providing oxygen to the bloodstream.

If you show any of these symptoms following a cold or flu, it’s very important to see your GP:

Ear infection

Ear infections are very common after contracting a cold or flu and can easily be diagnosed and treated. The most common ear infection is middle ear infection and although adults can get it, it’s way more frequently seen among children.

If you suspect that you or your child may have any of these ear infection symptoms, consult your doctor:

Sinus infection

Also, a very common but easily treatable condition is a sinus infection which occurs when mucus gets caught in the sinus cavities and then becomes infected. It can easily be treated by your doctor with a decongestant and a saline spray or rinse.

You may have a sinus infection if you have any of these symptoms:

Final thoughts

If you have a persistent cold or flu that carries on for weeks and if you suspect that you have any of the above-mentioned symptoms, then it’s vital to speak to your doctor.

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