Call 911 or other emergency services if:
- You are having trouble breathing, or you feel very short of
- You have a severe headache or stiff neck and are confused
or having trouble staying awake.
Call your doctor if:
- You have an extremely high fever.
- Your fever
lasts for longer than 3 days.
- Your child is 3 months of age or younger and has a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.
- You are finding it harder and harder
- Wheezing develops.
- New pain develops or
pain localizes to one area, such as an ear, the throat, the chest, or the
- Symptoms do not go away, even with home
- Symptoms become more severe or frequent.
In most healthy people, the
flu will go away in 5 to 7 days, although fatigue can
last much longer. Although you may feel very sick, home treatment is usually
all that is needed. If it is flu season, you may just want to treat your
symptoms at home. Watch closely for
symptoms of a bacterial infection, such as nasal
drainage that changes from clear to colored after 5 to 7 days and symptoms that
return or get worse.
Early treatment (within 48 hours of your
first symptoms) with antiviral medicines may reduce the severity of influenza
and may prevent serious flu-related complications.1
Babies, older adults, and people who have chronic health problems are more
likely to have complications from the flu, and they may need to see a doctor
for care beyond home treatment. But not all antiviral medicines work against
all strains of the flu. Talk to your doctor if you think you may need an
Call your doctor if you think your symptoms
are caused by something other than the flu.
Who to see
These health professionals can diagnose and treat the
A doctor who specializes in treating infectious diseases
may be needed if the diagnosis is not clear or if severe complications
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.