If someone is lucky enough to live a long life, one thing that is guaranteed is they have experienced the flu at least once. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is one of the worst flu seasons in recent years. With the New Year barely underway, there have already been three times as many cases of the flu compared to how many there were at this point last year. The trouble is learning when to go to the hospital when you develop flu symptoms.
What’s even more tragic is that at least 30 children have perished so far as a result of the flu. To shed more light on this recent problem, the rate of people being hospitalized for the flu in the first week of January was 22.7 per 100,000 people. Compare that to the 2014-2015 flu season where the rate was 29.9 per 100,000 people for the entire year. That year was considered the worst flu seasons in the last 15 years.
When most people develop flu symptoms, they just lie in bed, rest and wait it out. But sometimes just waiting it out may not be enough. But how do you know when your flu symptoms require you to take a trip to the emergency room?
Constant Vomiting: One of the first signs that you’ve developed the flu is vomiting, says Healthline. It’s your stomach trying rejecting the toxins in your body and forcing you to throw them up. Each time you vomit, your body not only gets rid of toxins, but it also loses nutrients as well. If you are constantly vomiting, you run the risk of becoming severely dehydrated. Go to the emergency room if you’re experiencing this for a few days.
Pain and Pressure in Your Chest and Stomach: If you’re experiencing chest pain or stomach pain, and it doesn’t subside after a couple of days, you should go to the emergency room, according to Healthline. Also, if you’re experiencing chest pain without exerting yourself, you should go to the emergency room.
You Become Confused: If you become dehydrated because of the vomiting, nutrients will not travel to the brain. Without sufficient nutrients, the brain can become disoriented and affect your cognitive function, says WebMD, If you start to feel confused, this is a red flag that you should go to the emergency room.
High Fever: The average body temperature is 98.6 degrees. If you take your temperature or someone else’s temperature and it’s been least 103 degrees the past few checks, you need to contact a doctor immediately, says experts at WebMD. A body temperature that is up to 102 degrees can be helpful because it helps the body fight the infection. If it rises higher than that, it means that the body is losing the fight.
The temperature for children may vary though. According to the Mayo Clinic, if a newborn has a temperature of 100 degrees, you should call your doctor. For children who are 6 months and older, a fever of 102 degrees warrants a call to the doctor’s office. A fever that lasts for more than a few days, and has not gone down once, will require further medical attention.
Who’s At Risk: For those who panic when they get sick, it’s important to know that most healthy adults who get the flu do not need to go to the hospital. The people who are most vulnerable are children who are under the age of 5-years-old, pregnant women, the elderly, and people who have other coexisting medical conditions such as diabetes, says the Mayo Clinic.
Flu symptoms for children are different than adults. Adults have a stronger immune system which allows them to fight off the infection. If your child experiences bluish skin, trouble breathing rashes, and unresponsiveness, it can be a cause for concern. But if these symptoms improve but then return even worse than before, take them to the emergency.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that parents take their infants to the emergency room if they don’t eat, have issues breathing, have little to no tears when they’re crying and have fewer wet diapers than normal. For the average adult who gets the flu, rest and fluids are the best ways to treat it. Your doctor may prescribe you some flu medication, but for the most part, you can rely on medication at your local drug store. One rule to remember is if you are sick with the flu, try not to leave the place you are staying at. The last thing you want to do is spread the flu, as it can be very contagious.