Content Map Terms

Flu: Signs of Bacterial Infection

British Columbia Specific Information

Influenza is an infection of the respiratory system caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms vary from mild to severe and can include fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat or cough. The influenza vaccines protect against the viruses that cause influenza. To learn more about the influenza vaccines, and to access influenza-related information from your health authority, visit our Influenza (Flu) Season health feature.

The symptoms of flu are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the common cold and COVID-19. Use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to find out if you or your family members need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. To learn more about the coronavirus, symptoms, how it spreads and prevention visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) health feature.

Topic Overview

A bacterial infection may develop following infection with viral influenza. Signs of a bacterial infection include:

  • Feeling short of breath.
  • A fever that doesn't go away.
  • A cough that lingers more than 7 to 10 days after other symptoms have cleared, especially if it is bringing up mucus (productive).
  • Yellow, green, rust-coloured, or bloody mucus that is coughed up from the lungs, especially while other symptoms are getting worse.
  • Sinus, throat, or ear pain that is new or doesn't go away.

These infections may sometimes need treatment with antibiotics.

Credits

Current as of:
July 6, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Christine Hahn MD - Epidemiology