You Have the Flu, Is it Time to Go to the Emergency Room?

From flu shots to good old fashioned home remedies, you do everything you can to avoid getting sick. Drinking herbal tea and keeping up with your daily multivitamin definitely has its benefits, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. Nobody wants to be stuck at home with the flu. You have work, family, and friends that all need your attention. When you’re overwhelmed with a chills and fever your whole life comes to a grinding halt. While getting the flu is no picnic, people usually start to feel relief from their symptoms with a few days of rest. On the other hand, some cases are more severe than others. So how are you supposed to know when your case of the flu is dangerous?

Keeping in mind that trips to the ER should be limited to those who need immediate medical attention, there are flu related red flags that may bring you there. Take a moment to learn about when a case of the flu should be brought to a doctor’s attention right away.

Who Is at Risk for the Flu?

The flu is a viral infection that is transmitted from person to person. Someone who has the virus can spread it to others standing up to six feet away. Typically, the flu is thought to be spread through particles expelled when coughing, sneezing, or even talking. We’ve all been told to stay at home when we start showing symptoms, but sometimes going out is unavoidable. The flu can affect anyone, though there are several groups of people that are at greater risk of infection and severe symptoms.

Children under five, pregnant women, and adults over sixty-five are among those who should take the most caution. Others who already have certain health concerns should also be aware of the risks. This can include anyone with asthma, heart disease, kidney or liver disorders, and diabetes. No one is exempt from the wrath of the flu, but there are those who should be extra-vigilant about avoiding exposure.

What are Common Flu Symptoms?

If you’ve never had the flu in the past, some of the symptoms may be alarming. It is essential that you are able to tell the difference between an everyday case and something more serious. Many people can mistake a bad cold for the flu because some of the signs are very similar. For example, both the flu and the common cold can cause a stuffy nose, a sore throat, sneezing, and coughing. The difference lies in other symptoms as well as the severity. A fever is what you should be looking out for as it is one of the main signs that you have the flu rather than something else. Another strong sign signaling the flu is how quickly your symptoms appear. With the flu, you could go from feeling fine to lousy in just a few hours. Pay attention to what is going on with your body and it should be clear what is causing your illness.

When to Worry

So you listened to your doctor and followed directions perfectly. The problem is, you still feel terrible and it may be getting worse. There are times when the flu can cause complications and serious damage to your body. It is a scary thought, but it is one you should always keep in the back of your mind. If you experience shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, persistent dizziness, chest pains, or swelling in your throat, take a trip to the closest emergency room.

If you are taking care of a young child, be on the lookout for bluish skin, low fluid intake, rashes, and uncommon irritability. Seeing as young children sometimes can’t speak or communicate properly, it is the job of a parent or guardian to know when the child needs extra help. Any or all of these issues may occur when the flu has become dangerous. A trip to the ER should be a last resort, but it is sometimes necessary. Knowing when symptoms are excessively harmful or fatal is the key to taking care of yourself and your loved ones. The flu is never fun, but there is always something you can do to lessen the damage.



Most of the time, lying in bed eating chicken soup and drinking plenty of fluids is enough to get over the flu within a few days. It is the times when your illness persists or gets worse that you need to watch out for. Knowing risk factors and who is more susceptible to the virus as well as warning signs will put you ahead of the game. Between information, prevention, and awareness you and your family will be ready for this flu season and all those to come.

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