Influenza B is a viral infection that attacks parts of the respiratory system such as the nose, throat and lungs. It is important to note that there are three forms of the influenza virus – A, B and C. The influenza A is responsible for causing the global epidemics that have affected millions in different parts of the globe. As for the complications that might occur, they are similar for both types of strains but influenza B tends to be milder in nature than type A. If you want to learn more about the proper management of this type of flu, click here.
Bacterial pneumonia is considered as the most common and serious complication linked with influenza B. This influenza virus can cause damage to the surface of the lungs, limiting the flow of air and increasing the risk for bacterial infections such as bacterial pneumonia.
Bacterial pneumonia often occurs once harmful bacteria quickly increase within the respiratory tract which results to swelling, inflammation and accumulation of fluid within the air sacs in the lungs. The moment the lungs are filled with fluid, the individual will find it difficult to breathe, resulting to stabbing chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and high fever. Bacterial pneumonia can be dangerous among the elderly and those who have chronic conditions such as lung and cardiovascular diseases.
Another common complication of influenza B that mainly affects children is myositis or inflammation of the muscles. The symptoms of myositis include muscle tenderness and leg pain that lasts for 1-5 days. The influenza B virus can cause the swelling of the muscles in the body that are responsible for movement, thus resulting to muscle pain and weakness when moving or walking.
An uncommon complication linked with influenza B is encephalitis. It is important to note that encephalitis usually occurs once the brain becomes swollen as a result of a viral infection. Encephalitis can develop once the immune system becomes highly stimulated by fighting off the influenza virus. Headache and fever are usually the initial indications of the condition that is followed right away by seizures, drowsiness, as well as confusion, loss of consciousness or coma. It is important to note that encephalitis can affect individuals of all ages but children below 7 years old and adults older than 55 years old are highly susceptible to the infection.
In some children or adolescents who are recovering from influenza B, they might develop a neurological condition known as Reye’s syndrome. Take note that this condition typically starts with nausea and vomiting which rapidly leads to confusion or delirium.
Some children and even adolescents might suffer from this condition right after the ingestion of aspirin for the fever and pain linked with influenza. With this in mind, a doctor must be consulted before giving aspirin to children.