When to See A Doctor for Flu Symptoms

Influenza, better known as the flu, keeps thousands of children home sick from school and adults home from work. While inconvenient, we encourage staying home to avoid spreading it around schools and workplaces. The flu is very contagious and there are few things more dreadful than the approach of flu season. iCare recommends getting your yearly flu shot and taking all the necessary preventative measures. The flu is not to be taken lightly as the CDC estimates that thousands will be hospitalized every year as a result of complications. 

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Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash

iCare serves as both an emergency room and urgent care; therefore, we see many flu patients throughout the season. Oftentimes, patients are a bit confused about when to come in versus allowing the illness to run its course. Our staff understands first-hand how hard it is to see your loved ones sick and in discomfort. It is especially frightening to see temperatures spike without resolution from treating with traditional over-the-counter pain relievers. This is why iCare likes to address the flu season with education and precautionary advice to better help your family in the case of an emergency. 

Some of the Most Commonly Asked Questions When Patients Come in the Urgent Care Clinic

Why Do People Get the Flu Shot and Then Get Sick? 

This is probably the biggest myth about the flu and, unfortunately, one of the biggest reasons why people abstain from getting it. The flu shot cannot make you sick. The flu vaccine is comprised of what is referred to as an inactive virus – meaning it is not a live virus, rendering it unable to cause illness/flu within the body. The inactive virus produces an immune response only, which can resemble mild flu symptoms. You can read more about it here on the CDC website

What is the Difference Between the Flu and a Cold?

Both the flu and the cold have similar symptoms however, the flu is much worse in severity. They are both categorized as respiratory illnesses and both can produce a fever. Colds are not as likely to produce a fever in adults, but more so in children. A cold typically has a slow, gradual onset beginning with a sore throat. Hallmark symptoms of a cold are the trademark runny nose and congestion paired with a slight headache and general malaise. 

In contrast, the flu will be hard-hitting. You will notice aches and pains upon waking and often presented with high-fever accompanied by chills. The flu sometimes can last for a week or more, and the person afflicted will notice they just don’t have sustained energy for several weeks to come. The flu may also be accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea.

I Received the Flu Shot So Why Did I Still Get the Flu? 

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Photo by Hyttalo Souza on Unsplash

Receiving the flu vaccine lowers your risk for getting sick, but it is not 100% guaranteed you won’t contract the virus. This is another misconception about getting the flu vaccine. Medical experts still strongly advise getting the vaccine because the chances of contracting the flu without it are significantly greater. The flu can result in hospitalization and even death in some cases.

Severe Flu Symptoms that Require Emergency Room Care

Most of the time, a trip to the ER is not required for treatment of flu symptoms. In some cases, a visit to the emergency room nearest you is a necessary course of action.

The following are advanced signs of illness requiring immediate care from a physician: 

  • An inability to breathe or inhibited airway due to swelling
  • Swelling of any kind, most noticeably in the mouth or throat
  • Unresolved high fever with signs of dehydration
  • Unconsciousness, failure to speak or answer
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness, confusion, blurred vision
  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea

Advanced Flu Symptoms in Children That Require Urgent or Emergency Room Care

Children belong to a high-risk population for risk of flu complications. When children of any age begin to exhibit the following signs, it is time to bring them to the nearest urgent care or emergency room location: 

  • High persistent fever with a rash 
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Complaints of pain 
  • Bluish pale skin tone
  • Refusal to drink liquids
  • Inability to be comfortably held or consoled
  • Listlessness, inability to wake or respond
  • Persistent cough or wheezing

Vulnerable Populations Are at Higher Risk for Flu and Should Be Seen by the Nearest Urgent Care

There are certain people, such as the elderly or the very young, who are at high risk for complications surrounding the flu. The CDC advises being on special alert for those who are 65 years of age and children under 5. They also indicate there is a markedly higher risk for infants less than two years of age.

Other vulnerable groups include pregnant women, individuals fighting advanced diseases such as cancer or other illness, those with auto-immune disorders, hospital personnel, care providers, and school personnel.

These populations are encouraged to receive a vaccine but should also practice preventative measures. iCare suggests wearing protective masks, washing hands frequently, and avoiding contact with those appearing unwell. 

Making the Decision to Get to the Doctor – Know Where Your Nearest Emergency Room and Urgent Care Facility is Located

Preparation is essential in every situation, and that means knowing which emergency facilities are accessible and closest to you at any given time. Emergencies are always scary and it is easy to forget almost anything and everything in times of panic and fear. If you are local to Frisco, TX, keep the iCare ER and Urgent Care center information on-hand and in plain sight for easy reference.

Our facility is a unique one as we have both the urgent care and emergency room in one location. This means caring and prompt advanced care options for yourself or your loved one. If you have any questions about possible flu symptoms that may require a doctor’s attention, we ask that you contact us right away. 

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