Flu: When to See a Doctor

In most cases, the flu (influenza) causes mild illness that can be treated at home with over-the-counter medicines for fever, cough and colds/stuffy nose.

Common flu signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever above 38 °C (not everyone with the flu develops a fever)
  • A cough or sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea (most common in children)

With some rest and self-care measures at home, a healthy person can expect to get better within a week. In many cases, a dry cough may last for several weeks.

When to see a doctor

However, some people are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications and should see a doctor. These include individuals who:

  • Are younger than 12 months old
  • Are 65 years old or older
  • Are pregnant or have given birth in the past two weeks
  • Are younger than 19 years of age and are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
  • Have certain chronic medical conditions, including lung diseases such as asthma, an airway abnormality, heart disease, diabetes, neurological or neurodevelopmental disease, metabolic disorders, and kidney, liver or blood disease
  • Have a weakened immune system due to factors such as long-term use of steroids or other immunosuppressants, HIV, organ transplant, blood cancer, or cancer being treated with chemotherapy
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater
  • Live in a long-term care facility such as a nursing home
  • Are in the hospital

If you develop emergency signs and symptoms of the flu, seek medical care right away. For adults, emergency signs and symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Ongoing dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Worsening of existing medical conditions
  • Severe weakness or muscle pain
  • Not urinating
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen

In children, emergency signs and symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blue lips
  • Chest pain
  • Dehydration
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Seizures
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • Worsening of existing medical conditions

Consult your doctor for more information on the flu.

Shop at Watsons for your vitamins, supplements, prescription medications, and other essential healthcare needs. Flu and Pneumonia vaccines are also available. Check Watsons vaccination schedules now!


https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/expert-answers/flu-symptoms/faq-20057983. Accessed 23 September 2022
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/symptoms.htm. Accessed 23 September 2022

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