If you catch the flu, how do you know if you need to go the hospital? Most patients who have the flu will recover on their own without medical care but in some cases, the flu can be life-threatening, and so it’s important to know how to recognize signs of a flu emergency.
"If you have emergency warning signs or complications, go to the nearest emergency department immediately," said Dr. Paul Kivela, president of American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).
According to ACEP, signs that the flu requires emergency care for adults include:
· Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
· Chest pain or abdominal pain.
· Sudden dizziness.
· Severe or persistent vomiting.
· Flu-like symptoms that appear to get better, but then return with a fever and worse cough.
· Swelling in the mouth or throat.
In children, emergency symptoms include:
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 that improve, but then return with a fever and worse cough.
· Fever with a rash.
People who are at high risk for flu complications include young children, people ages 65 and over, pregnant women and people with chronic conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If people in this "high-risk" group develop flu-like symptoms, the CDC recommends that they should receive treatment with antiviral medications early in the course of their illness. To ask about receiving these treatments, people can contact their health care provider rather than go to the ER if they do not have signs of a flu emergency, the CDC said.
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