I think I have the flu!

Posted by Tyler Weber on Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Updated on: Monday, November 27, 2023
Keywords: flu influenza doctor

Think you might have the flu and question whether you need to see a doctor?  We're here to help you navigate the level of care you need.

CDC Recommendations:

The CDC recommends you stay home if you are sick, regardless if you have tested positive for influenza.

Most people with flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms and you have mild symptoms, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people. 

Emergency rooms and other acute care facilities are intended for people who are very sick.  Mild cold and flu symptoms can and should be treated at home.

What are some of the mild symptoms you can experience with the flu?

Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly.  These mild symptoms listed below can be managed at home without consult from a medical provider. 

People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

Online Care for Flu Symptoms and Concerns?

Online Care or Telehealth is also a good option if you are unsure of the level of are you need.  The Urgency Room has telehealth services available every day from 8am to 8pm. 

  • Log in and complete an online questionnaire (average visit takes less than 10 minutes)
  • Your information will be reviewed by one of our Urgency Room providers within an hour. 
  • Should your provider determine you need to be tested (flu, step, COVID) they will instruct you to present to an Urgency Room location AFTER your visit for the test only. 
  • No need to wait, we will let you know when your results are ready.

How can I treat minor symptoms from the flu?

    Take acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) to reduce fever and muscle aches. (Don't give products containing aspirin to children or teens recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms. This is because aspirin has been linked to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, in such children).
    Drink clear fluids, such as water, broth or sports drinks. Consider over-the-counter medications or cough and congestion as needed.
    Rest as needed or change some of your activities, depending on your symptoms. To avoid infecting other people, stay home from work, school and other public places for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications.

Most people feel better within a week of becoming infected with the flu virus. However, coughing may last for another one or two weeks.


What are the emergency warning signs of flu and how to tell if you need to seek treatment?

People experiencing any of these warning signs should seek medical care right away.  If you think you are experiencing a medical emergency dial 911.

In Children

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Ribs pulling in with each breath
  • Chest pain
  • Severe muscle pain (child refuses to walk)
  • Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying)
  • Not alert or interacting when awake
  • Seizures
  • Fever above 104°F
  • In children less than 12 weeks, any fever
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • Worsening of chronic medical condition

In adults

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to arouse
  • Seizures
  • Not urinating
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe weakness or unsteadiness
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions

These lists are not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptom that is severe or concerning.

Here to Help You

Our goal at The Urgency Room is to help you get the level of care you need. We understand that as we enter into cold and flu season more and more people are getting sick. We want you to know it's ok to care for yourself at home when your symptoms are mild and manageable. Staying home and avoiding others helps minimize the spread and keeps others safe.

If you think you need treatment we're here. Start an online visit or visit us in person. We're here to support you.

These recommendations come to us from the CDC as a trusted resource. Visit CDC.gov for more information.  

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