When Should You Go to the ER for the Flu?

The flu is more widespread this season than it has been in previous years, so emergency rooms across the nation are seeing more and more patients with this illness. However, not all flu cases require emergency care, so you should consider the following factors before you head to the ER for your flu care.

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What is your age?

Young children and the elderly are the highest risk populations for flu complications, particularly dehydration. People within either of these age groups should consider a flu vaccine if they haven’t had one already this year.

Do you have a chronic medical condition?

Chronic medical conditions such as respiratory diseases, cancer, and congestive heart failure can make the flu a more serious threat to your health, so you should seek care at the first signs of influenza if you have any of these conditions. If you can see your primary physician within a day, you may not need to go to the emergency room. The ER might be your best resource, however, if you cannot schedule an emergency appointment at your doctor’s office.

Do you have severe symptoms?

Typical flu symptoms such as moderate fever, fatigue, and body aches are generally not cause for alarm. If these are the worst of your symptoms, it is best for you to stay home to avoid getting anyone else sick while conserving your energy. When symptoms worsen to high fever over 102, confusion, lightheadedness, and severe thirst, it may be time to go to the ER for dehydration treatment and antiviral medication to ease your other symptoms.

If you have answered affirmatively to any of the questions above, you can rely on the 24/7 emergency care at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center to get you back on your feet. You can also have our medical guidance at your fingertips by downloading our iTriage Symptom Checker app or by calling our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (805) 497-2727.

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