Estimated to impact as many as 20% of Americans every year, the flu is a widespread and highly contagious condition caused by a viral infection. Similar to a common cold, this illness causes many unpleasant symptoms that tend to go away with rest and over-the-counter medications. But unlike a common cold, these symptoms are more severe and can sometimes lead to serious complications if not properly addressed. Fortunately, if you catch the following warning signs early on, your doctor can prescribe antiviral medications and additional treatment to help you recover.
How to Know You Should See a Doctor About the Flu
High, Persistent Fever
Fevers are a common symptom of the flu and are generally a sign that your body is fighting off the infection. But if the fever exceeds 103°F or doesn’t improve within 24 hours, adults should seek care from a trusted doctor. High and persistent fevers often mean that another infection is present and requires more than at-home remedies.
Many times, people with the flu will experience mild congestion and a sore throat. Most of the time, these symptoms can be relieved with an over-the-counter decongestant. But if these issues are impairing your breathing ability, your flu may have triggered an asthma attack or pneumonia—an infection of the lungs. Depending on the severity of the condition, you may require medical treatment or even hospitalization.
While it’s normal to have a reduced appetite when you’re sick with the flu, vomiting and other forms of digestive distress shouldn’t be expected. Frequent vomiting depletes the body of vital fluids, which can cause dehydration and impair the immune system’s ability to address the flu. This issue may also indicate a serious infection that’s putting your organs in danger. In these situations, a doctor may need to deliver fluids intravenously or provide medication to cure additional infections.
You Have a High Risk for Complications
Individuals who are older, infants, or have certain chronic conditions—such as diabetes, heart disease, or HIV/AIDS—often have compromised immune systems that can make it difficult to fight the flu. Pregnant women may also be left vulnerable due to the extra physical demands of supporting the health of a fetus. When the body cannot properly fight the flu, people can develop severe—and potentially life-threatening—complications, including pneumonia.
If you or a loved one is concerned about the flu, Palladium Primary Care is here to help you heal with confidence. Serving the High Point and Greensboro, NC, communities, this family medical clinic offers comprehensive care to identify and treat flu complications. If you need prompt treatment without an appointment, this provider also operates an urgent care facility that accepts walk-in visits. And if you want to protect yourself from this illness, this practice offers affordable flu shots to increase your immunity. For more details on these services, visit these local doctors online or call (336) 841-8500.