Does weight affect likelihood of experiencing severe flu-like symptoms?

December 5, 2018, Wiley
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A new Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses study found that adults who are underweight or morbidly obese have an elevated risk of being hospitalized with influenza-like illness due to the flu virus or other respiratory viruses.

The observational study included 4778 hospitalized and outpatient patients with influenza-like illness in six hospitals in Mexico.

The followed a "U" shaped curve, where individuals at both extremes were more likely to develop severe influenza-like illness when compared with individuals with normal weight. The findings indicate that clinicians should keep a patient's body mass index in mind when evaluating risk of developing severe influenza-like illness and deciding on a course of treatment.

Explore further: Older hospitalized adults are infrequently tested for influenza

More information: Joe-Ann S. Moser et al, Underweight, overweight, and obesity as independent risk factors for hospitalization in adults and children from influenza and other respiratory viruses, Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses (2018). DOI: 10.1111/irv.12618

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