Flu: When To Treat It At Home And When To Call A Doctor
In most cases, people with the flu recover within 1-2 weeks and don’t experience any complications. But sometimes, you may develop symptoms that don’t go away on their own and require medical attention. Possible complications resulting from the flu infection include pneumonia, bronchitis, inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), respiratory and kidney failure, and sepsis. This is why it’s important to know signs and symptoms of the flu complications that mean you need to call a doctor.
What are the typical symptoms of the flu?
People with the flu usually develop some or all of the following symptoms:
- body aches;
- sneezing and coughing;
- stuffy nose;
- sore throat.
What symptoms require medical attention?
Call a doctor right away if you or someone around you has the flu and the following signs and symptoms:
- pain in the chest or abdomen;
- pressure in the chest;
- high fever (39 °C or 103 °F);
- persistent vomiting;
- sudden dizziness or confusion;
- purple or bluish lips;
- difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or rapid breathing;
- coughing up blood;
- loss of consciousness and seizures;
- stiff neck;
- skin rash that doesn’t become less visible when you press on it;
- symptoms don’t start to subside after 4 days;
- symptoms improved temporarily but then came back and became even worse.
Who is at a higher risk of flu complications?
Certain groups of people are more likely than others to develop complications during or following the flu infection. They include:
- pregnant women and women who have given birth recently;
- young children, especially infants;
- people aged older than 65;
- people whose immune system is compromised as a result of a disease or treatment;
- obese people;
- nursing home residents and other people who live in long-term care facilities;
- people with chronic health problems, including diabetes, asthma, heart disease, liver and kidney disorders, and neurological conditions.
If you’re at an increased risk of complications, call your doctor even if your symptoms are not severe.
This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.