How do I know if I have the flu?
You may have the flu if you have some or all of these symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
- Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
* It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
What should I do if I get sick?
If you get sick with flu-like symptoms, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs.
However, some people are more likely to get flu complcations (for example, young children, people 65 and older, people with asthma [or] diabetes, or women who are pregnant), and they should talk to a healthcare provider about whether they need to be examined if they get flu symptoms. Also, it's possible for healthy people to develop severe illness from the flu, so anyone concerned about their illness should consult a healthcare provider.
There are emergency warning signs. Anyone who has them should get medical are right away.
What are the emergency warning signs?
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Now waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:
- Being unable to eat
- Has trouble breathing
- Has no tears when crying
- Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistant vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Do I need to go [to] the emergency room if I am only a little sick?
No. The emergency room should be used for people who are very sick. You should not go to the emergency room if you are only mildly ill. If you have the emergency warning signs of flu sickness, you should go to the emergency room. If you get sick with flu symptoms and are at high risk of flu complications or you are concerned about your illness, call your healthcare provider for advice. If you go to the emergency room and you are not sick with the flu, you may catch it from people who do have it.
Are there medicines to treat the flu?
Yes. There are drugs your doctor may prescribe for treating the flu called "antivirals." These drugs can make you better faster and may also prevent serious complications.
How long should I stay at home if I'm sick?
CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other things you have to do and no one else can do for you (your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol®). You should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events and public gatherings.
What should I while I'm sick?
Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from making them sick. If you must leave home, for example to get medical care, wear a facemask if you have one, or cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. And wash your hands often to keep from spreading flu to others [visit our The Flu: Caring for Someone Sick at Home page for more information].