What Do You Do If You Get Sick With The Flu?

This is the time of the year when people can get sick with the flu and respiratory illness. Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. This gives your body a chance to heal more quickly, and also reduces the risk of spreading the flu to other people.

If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are very sick or worried about your illness, first contact your health care provider (doctor, physician’s assistant, etc.) or your local urgent care center. The Emergency Room should not be used for routine medical care.

People who get the flu exhibit a variety of symptoms including:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Sometimes, diarrhea and vomiting

Some people are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications (including young children, elderly persons, pregnant women and people with certain long-term medical conditions). If you are in a high risk group and develop flu symptoms, it’s best for you to contact your doctor. Remind them of your high risk status for flu.

If you have one of the following emergency warning signs noted below, seek medical attention immediately.

In children

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In infants

  • Being unable to eat
  • Has trouble breathing
  • Has no tears when crying
  • Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal

In adults

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

For more information about taking care when you have the flu, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/takingcare.htm and http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/USHHSV-66d2ac.

Lompoc Valley Medical Center, Infection Prevention Service(adapted from Santa Barbara County Public Health Department News Release 2013-01-16; 300 N. San Antonio Road • Santa Barbara, CA 93110|(805) 681-5102 • FAX (805) 681-5191| www.countyofsb.org.

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