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When Does the Flu Become an Emergency?

Fever. Aches. Chills. Coming down with the flu is a miserable experience. In most cases, your body will fight off the flu and you’ll feel better within a few days or up to two weeks. For some people, however, the virus can lead to serious, life-threatening complications.

What to Do if You Get the Flu 

If you’re younger than 65 and in good health, you likely won’t need medical care or even antiviral medication. Stay home and try to avoid contact with other people.

If you’re at high risk for flu-related complications, then contact your doctor right away. People at high risk include:

  • Children younger than 5

  • Adults 65 and older

  • Pregnant women

  • Those with medical conditions including asthma, heart disease, blood disorders, diabetes, lung disease, and others

  • Individuals with a weakened immune system

When the Flu Becomes an Emergency

Serious complications can happen to anyone. Watch out for these warning signs and go to the emergency room if you notice:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

  • Sudden dizziness

  • Pain or pressure in your chest or abdomen

  • Ongoing vomiting

  • Confusion

  • Symptoms that get better, but return and are worse than before

Remember, getting the flu vaccine each year is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting the flu.

© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.