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When to See Your Doctor
Doctor and elderly woman

Most people who get the flu will recover on their own after a week or so and don’t need to see a doctor. In some cases, though, it might be necessary to seek medical care.

People who have severe illness or are at high risk for flu complications should contact a healthcare provider, who will determine whether treatment is needed. If you are directed to see a health care provider, ask if the facility has any special procedures for flu sufferers who visit.

If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, call 911 or go to an emergency room.

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing;
  • Bluish or gray skin color;
  • Not drinking enough fluids;
  • Severe or persistent vomiting;
  • Not waking up or not interacting;
  • So irritable that he or she does not want to be held;
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough;
  • Fever with a rash.

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

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

People with these symptoms should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.

No health insurance?

If you need to see a doctor regarding flu symptoms, but you don’t have health insurance or a regular doctor, call SafeNet at 211 for referral to a nearby, low-cost clinic.