When should I go to the emergency room (ER) for flu symptoms?

Dr. Scott A. Scherr, MD
Emergency Medicine Specialist

Flu symptoms like headaches, neck pain, stiffness, and shortness of breath merit medical attention, says Scott Scherr, MD, from Sunrise Hospital. Learn the other symptom that should send you to a doctor by watching this short video.

Jennifer Dekoschak, RN
Emergency Medicine Specialist

People should come to the ER for flu symptoms if they don't know they have the flu, says Jennifer Dekoschak, RN, from Parkland Medical Center. Watch this video to learn more.

Dr. David M. Dodd, MD
Emergency Medicine Specialist

There are only a few situations you should visit the ER when you have the flu, says Michael Dodd, MD, from Frankfort Regional Medical Center. Watch him discuss what those are in this informational video.

TriStar Centennial Medical Center
Administration Specialist

Unless you have serious symptoms not usually associated with the flu such as severe abdominal pain or persistent vomiting, it’s best to stay out of the emergency room. There are a lot of other very vulnerable people in the emergency department. If you go and infect them with influenza, they’re going to do a whole lot worse. If there are a lot of people in the emergency department who have flu symptoms and pass them around to one another, an outbreak could develop very quickly in the community.

You don't need to go to the emergency room, or ER, for flu symptoms (muscle aches, headache, fever, and chills) unless you are pregnant, elderly, very young (infants and toddlers), or have a condition that weakens your immune system. Regardless of age or health conditions, these individuals are at a higher risk of complications from the influenza virus, and there are medications that can reduce the serious problems of influenza.

Dr. Alan Young, MD
Family Practitioner

You should go to the emergency room (ER) for flu symptoms if you have trouble breathing, chest pain and dizziness. It’s also advisable to be seen in the ER if you have a temperature over 104. Lower than that, and otherwise not having shortness of breath or chest pain, it would be advisable to call the doctor's office.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.