Most cases of the flu can be safely treated at home with rest and plenty of hot drinks, but sometimes you or your loved one should see a doctor. Here are several situations in which you should not hesitate to call a doctor. If your case of the flu falls into any of these categories, contact a doctor right away.
1. Your Baby Has the Flu
Influenza is usually a relatively mild illness in adults, but it can be very serious in babies. If you suspect a child of less than two years old has the flu, call your doctor as soon as they start to show symptoms.
Symptoms of flu in babies include fever, chills, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhoea. If the baby has just a runny nose and a sore throat, that is more likely to be a simple cold, which does not usually need treatment.
Flu tends to develop suddenly, so watch out for your baby becoming hot or looking floppy and weak.
2. An Older Person Has the Flu
Older people are also at high risk of flu complications, particularly if they are frail or have other health conditions. Roughly 85 percent of flu-related deaths occur in people aged at least 65, while this group also accounts for the majority of flu-related hospitalisations. If you or one of your relatives fall into this group and you notice flu symptoms, call a doctor right away.
Antiviral treatment may help to reduce the severity of flu in older people. This treatment is most likely to be effective if it starts within 48 hours of symptoms appearing, so you should act quickly to get treatment for vulnerable people. Be sure to contact a doctor quickly when an older person develops symptoms of flu, such as fever, body aches, chills, weakness, fatigue, headache, and discomfort in the chest.
3. The Flu Symptoms Have Become Severe
In rare cases, even healthy adults can develop serious complications as a result of the flu. Some signs that the flu has developed into a more serious illness include shortness of breath, pain or a feeling of pressure in the abdomen or chest, dizziness, confusion and severe vomiting.
If you experience these severe flu symptoms, you should contact a doctor. Your flu might have progressed to the point where you need intravenous fluids and medical supervision to help you recover. You might also need antibiotics to clear up any secondary infections that have developed. A doctor can examine your symptoms and let you know whether you need treatment.
4. The Flu Symptoms Improve but Then Return
Sometimes, the symptoms of the flu seem to ease, but then return with a high fever and a bad cough. This return of symptoms can be a sign of bronchitis, which is a serious illness, particularly in older people. A high fever could even mean that your flu has developed into pneumonia, which is an inflammation of the lungs that can be deadly.
If your flu appears to get better but then comes back worse, visit with your doctor immediately to ensure that you are not developing severe complications. At the very least, seeing a doctor will help to rule out secondary infections and put your mind at ease.
Hello Home Doctor Service is the first place you should call when someone in your family has the flu and requires medical attention. Our home visit doctor service provides out-of-hours care for every member of the family, from infants to elderly people, at night, on weekends and on public holidays. Get in touch today to protect yourself and your family from the effects of flu-related complications.