Question

Cold and Flu

Should I go to the doctor if I have symptoms of the flu?

A Answers (3)

  • AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    If you have symptoms of the flu, go to the doctor as soon as possible. He or she may test you for the influenza virus, although usually it's not necessary because flu symptoms are enough to make a diagnosis. If flu is diagnosed early enough, your doctor may give you an antiviral medication to speed up your recovery.
  • AJoel Fuhrman, MD, Family Medicine, answered
    Flu symptoms suggesting medical consultation is necessary are:
    • Rapid breathing
    • Breathing with grunting or wheezing sounds
    • Labored breathing (in a child, rib muscles retract)
    • Abdominal pain (more common in children)
    • Changes in behavior or mental status, such as disorientation or not being alert
    • Persistent diarrhea or vomiting (more common with children), especially if unable to hold down sufficient fluids
    • Persistent fever above 103 degrees for three days
  • For most adults, the flu is a self-limiting disease and typically requires only supportive care such as taking in plenty of fluids and using over-the-counter medications for symptom relief such as fevers, cough or congestion. If you are in close contact with the elderly (more than 65 years old) or children less than 2 years old, you may need to be tested for your flu strain so that they can be given medicine to prevent them from getting the flu. The very old and the very young are at increased risk for complications when getting the flu.
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