If You Are Sick

When should I see a doctor?

sick child

Most people sick with the flu have mild disease and do not need to see a doctor or get tested.

If you are at high risk for getting very sick with the flu, contact your doctor to discuss the need for treatment.  High risk people include:

  • People with lung disease like asthma.
  • People with other medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, kidney or liver disease, blood cell disease including sickle cell, or neurological disease that affects swallowing or breathing.
  • Pregnant women and women who have given birth within 2 weeks.
  • Children age 2 years and under.
  • Adults age 50 years and over.
  • People with weak immune systems (due to disease or medicines).
  • People who are overweight (obese).

If you have these symptoms call your doctor right away:

  • Have difficulty breathing.
  • Are dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Have a fever that is at least 100 degrees plus a cough or sore throat.
  • Feel very sick.

Do I need to go to the emergency room if I am only a little sick?

  • No. The emergency room should be saved for people who are very sick. People should not go to the emergency room for a mild illness.

If you have these symptoms call or go to the Emergency Room:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Blue-ish color of skin, lips, or fingertips
  • Not urinating
  • Not waking up or interacting
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

Call the Doctor or Emergency Room ahead of time to let them know you may have the flu.

When going to the doctor's office or the emergency room:

  • Tell them that you have the flu.
  • Get a face mask at the office or emergency room and wear it in the waiting room.
  • Sit away from others as much as possible.

Additional Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- Other Important Information for People Sick with Flu

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