There are many causes of dizziness and shortness of breath (dyspnea). Dizziness and shortness of breath are common side effects of many medications. The two are also symptoms of various health conditions. Many of them are cardio and pulmonary conditions such as hypertension and pulmonary edema. There also is a virus that causes dizziness and shortness of breath: influenza.
Definition of Dizziness and Dyspnea
According to the Mayo Clinic, dizziness is a catch-all term to describe various feelings such as feeling faint to feeling weak. Vertigo is a specific form of dizziness characterized by the sensation of your surroundings spinning or moving. Dyspnea is a pulmonary condition commonly known as shortness of breath.
Background on Influenza
Influenza is a contagious virus infection of the lungs, nose and throat. Often called "the flu," influenza is commonly spread through the air when fluid droplets from sneezes and coughs enter the air. Influenza can also spread by using a phone or touching a surface an infected person has handled and then touching your own eyes, mouth or nose. Symptoms of influenza include body aches, chills, fever, nausea, dizziness and in severe case shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Types of Influenza
According to the CDC, there are three types of influenza viruses: A, B, and C. Influenza C is not considered to cause flu epidemics as it mainly causes mild respiratory illness. Influenza A and B viruses occur frequently and cause seasonal epidemics, according to the CDC.
Antiviral medication can be prescribed to treat influenza. Antiviral medication is not given to those who do not have severe cases of the flu. For severe cases, especially those involving breathing difficulties, antiviral medication is administered by a physician. For mild cases of influenza, staying away from others to keep from spreading the virus, bed rest (especially if fatigue or dizziness is experienced), and taking fever reducing over-the-counter medicines such as acetaminophen, is best. The CDC advises to wait 24 hours after your fever is gone before coming in contact with others.
Getting the seasonal flu shot each year is useful in preventing Influenza A and B; the seasonal vaccine does not prevent the influenza C virus. Frequent washing of your hands after handling objects or touching surfaces, especially public surfaces is advised. Avoid touching your nose, eyes, or mouth with your hands, use a tissue when feasible. Cough or sneeze inside of a tissue or in the crook of your arm (where the arm bends). Also avoid contact with sick people.