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I Think I Have the Flu: Should I See a Doctor?

Oct 03, 2023
I Think I Have the Flu: Should I See a Doctor?
Flu season is right around the corner, and with it comes the age-old question: When does the flu require a trip to the doctor?

Flu season is almost here. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that flu season happens in the fall and winter, with the peak months being December through February. However, the flu can start making its annual rounds as early as October.

Most of us are all too familiar with the flu (or influenza) — the throbbing headache, the body aches and chills, the sore throat, the stuffy nose, and the overall feeling of fatigue. However, it can be tough to know when you need to seek professional medical treatment and when you should just nurse yourself at home.

Our expert team at HealthStone Primary Care Partners, located in Hollywood, Florida, is well-acquainted with acute illnesses such as the flu. So, in this blog, we review when it’s time to seek care from a doctor for your flu symptoms.

What to do when you first fall ill

Flu symptoms typically come on suddenly. You might start to feel feverish and have other symptoms such as a sore throat, stuffy nose, cough, and even vomiting or diarrhea. When you feel yourself start getting sick, make sure you stay home to avoid infecting others. 

You can start off by treating your symptoms on your own at home, by taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce any pain along with your fever. Taking antihistamines and decongestants can give you some relief from your congestion and runny nose. Make sure to also drink plenty of fluids and rest as much as you can.

When to seek medical care

Because the flu is a virus, your body should be able to fight it off all on its own. However, having the flu does carry the possibility of complications. If you’re experiencing difficulty breathing, chest or stomach pain, dizziness, or severe vomiting, your immune system might be having trouble getting rid of the virus.

In addition, if your fever doesn’t go away with fever reducers, or if your fever and cough go away but come back worse than ever, it could be a sign of an infection.

If you do experience any of those symptoms, you need to seek medical care right away. Not getting proper treatment can lead to pneumonia, sinus infections, ear infections, and bronchitis. All of these can have serious implications if they go untreated.

Even without these more serious symptoms, children and adults over the age of 65 should always be seen for flu symptoms, since their risk for complications is significantly higher. The same goes if you’re pregnant or if you have an underlying health condition such as asthma or diabetes.

Stay home, or see the doctor?

It’s always possible that your flu symptoms will go away on their own, but if you’re worried about your illness, don’t hesitate to come in and see us. Our team can evaluate you and determine whether further treatment is needed.

To schedule an appointment with us for any acute illness, give us a call at 954-466-0850 or use our online booking tool today.