• By Dana Sparks

Does Everyone with Flu-Like Symptoms Need to Seek Medical Care?

January 21, 2013

Sick child in bed with adult hands holding a thermometer

If you experience flu-like symptoms, you may wonder whether to seek medical care. According to Mayo Clinic, you should: 

  • Seek medical care if you have flu symptoms and are in a risk group. Antiviral medication treatment may benefit you. To receive the antiviral medication, seek medical attention (by telephone or in person). Risk groups include:
    • Children less than 2 years of age
    • Adults 65 years of age and older
    • Persons with chronic heart, lung (including asthma), kidney, liver or blood diseases
    • Diabetes mellitus
    • Neurologic conditions, such as stroke, spinal cord injury or developmental delays
    • People with weakened immune systems (e.g., persons on steroids/other medications that suppress the immune system; those who have been diagnosed with cancer, primary immunodeficiency and are on treatment for cancer, such as chemotherapy or radiation; and persons with human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] infection)
    • Women who are pregnant or postpartum (within two weeks after delivery)
    • Persons less than 19 years of age who are on long-term aspirin therapy
    • Persons who are morbidly obese (i.e., body mass index [BMI] greater than or equal to 40)
    • Residents of long-term care facilities
  • Not seek medical care when you are generally healthy and do not have an underlying medical condition. Most people with influenza will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, taking a fever-reducing medication such as Tylenol, and getting plenty of rest. You do not need to be tested or treated for influenza if you fit into this group.  

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