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Is the Flu a Medical Emergency?

When Should I Go to the ER for the Flu?

While most patients recover from the flu on their own with lots of rest and fluids, a sizeable percentage of individuals in the US experience flu-related complications that can quickly turn into a medical emergency. So, if you catch the flu, how do you know how to recognize the signs of a flu emergency?

Emergency Care for Flu Symptoms

According to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), these signs indicate that adults sick with the flu should seek emergency care:

  • Sudden dizziness or confusion

  • Severe vomiting

  • Fever with a rash

  • Chest pain

  • Swelling in the mouth

  • Lack of urination

In children, the following symptoms are indicative of a flu-related medical emergency:

  • Bluish skin color

  • Fever with a rash

  • Dehydration

  • Trouble breathing

  • Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with a fever and worse cough

  • Fever above 104°F, and in children less than 12 weeks, any fever.

Most patients tend to experience symptoms of the flu for about one to two weeks after initially becoming sick. If your symptoms continue after this period, it’s best to consult your doctor to ensure no secondary infections are present.

Flu Complications

People who are 65 years of age or older, pregnant women, children, and individuals with chronic illnesses are at a higher risk of developing symptoms. Most commonly, patients can develop one of the following conditions:

  • Sinus and ear infections

  • Pneumonia

  • Inflammation of the heart, brain, or muscle tissues

  • Multi-organ failure

  • Respiratory tract infections which lead to sepsis

24/7 Emergency Medical Care in Dallas

If you do fall ill this season and are unsure whether you have an urgent or emergency medical problem, call our standalone emergency room at (214) 494-8222 Our doctors at Advance ER will identify your condition and provide treatment.