When Should I Go to Urgent Care with the Flu?

The flu virus is rapidly moving towards its peak in the season, which typically occurs around mid-winter. If you have not yet received your annual flu shot, you may be vulnerable to developing symptoms. While certain strains and symptoms of the virus can be treated at home with rest and over-the-counter medication, you should visit your local urgent care center as soon as possible to receive care from a physician for more serious cases. 

What are the symptoms of the flu?

Because the flu is a virus, the current strain is constantly mutating and changing to work around the standard of care. No case of the flu is the same, and you may experience some, all or even just a few symptoms. Common indicators of the flu include:

  • Fever
  • Chills and sweats
  • Headache and full body aches
  • Dehydration (dry mouth, dizziness, infrequent urination, intense thirst)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Stuffed and/or runny nose

What to do if you develop flu or flu-like symptoms

If you begin to exhibit flu-like symptoms, you should stay home for at least 24 hours in order to give your fever time to break and avoiding spreading germs to others. While at home, make sure to get plenty of rest in order to let your body fight against the virus. Drink fluids throughout the day, from water to sports drinks to soups and juices to get the nutrients you need while you recuperate. Adults over the age of 18 can also take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or aspirin to help break headaches. Never give children ibuprofen or aspirin: it can quickly develop a condition called Reye’s Syndrome that can result in liver or brain damage. Treat your child with rest, fluids and layering blankets to break a fever. 

When should I visit urgent care with the flu?

 There are several factors that go into when you should see a doctor for flu symptoms. High-risk patients should see a doctor within 24 hours of developing symptoms and include:

  • Young children
  • Pregnant women
  • Senior citizens
  • Patients with chronic conditions
  • Patients with previously weakened immune systems

The virus will continue to affect your immune system the longer it goes untreated, which can make you more vulnerable to developing complications. Patients who are not considered high-risk should go to their local urgent care if:

  • Symptoms are not improving
  • Your fever is not breaking and climbing (a fever of 102 is considered high for an adult)
  • You are developing symptoms of dehydration including an inability to hold fluids, confusion and fatigue

Flu Diagnosis & Treatment in Cheltenham, Cedarbrook, West Oak Lane, Elkins Park & Germantown, PA

If you are beginning to exhibit symptoms of the flu, visit AFC Urgent Care Cheltenham today! Our center will be able to provide you with an accurate diagnosis with a rapid flu test in our on-site lab to ensure you receive the proper treatment. Our physicians are still administering flu shots for the season in order to protect yourself for the rest of winter into spring. For questions, please call 215-935-6777.