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The Flu: Do You Treat it at Home or See a Doctor?

Nov 30, 2015 08:38AM ● By Dia

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By Jeffrey Peebles, M.D. – Southlake Medical Director, Complete Care

Most people are able to fight through the flu at home with rest and over-the-counter medications. However, there are some instances where symptoms become so severe that a trip to the doctor becomes necessary. Here are some ways to tell whether you be able to take care of the flu on your own or you will need to visit your nearest Complete Care medical facility.

 Home Treatment

You probably already know how the game works when you have the flu. Symptoms usually last for around a week and can be treated at home with acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which can reduce fever. Decongestants and antihistamines can also help reduce congestion. And, of course, you need to get as much rest as you possibly can. 

When to Get Help

Some people with the flu, however, can experience very serious symptoms that require medical attention. These are some of the signs that your body will not be able to fight off the flu without help.

 ·      Severe vomiting

·      Lightheadedness or dizziness

·      Stomach or chest pain

·      Trouble breathing

While these signs are the same no matter how young or old you may be, you need to carefully watch children for any of the following and get emergency medical help.

·      The child is unable to wake up or interact with you or others

·      His or her skin or lips have a bluish appearance

·      He or she has a rash accompanied by a high fever

Whether the person suffering from the flu is a child or an adult, medical help will be needed for a fever that reaches 102 degrees or higher.

Other Reasons to Get Medical Help

Dehydration can be a very troubling symptom of the flu. Not only will you feel thirsty, you may have difficulty keeping down fluids. You may also urinate less than normal. If you find that drinking more does not help you retain fluids, you may need intravenous fluids.

You should also consider seeing a doctor if you start feeling better but your symptoms return – especially if your cough or fever are worse than before. Also, if you are elderly, pregnant or have a compromised immune system due to another condition such as cancer, diabetes or asthma, you need to get help as soon as you can. People who have these conditions are at a particularly high risk of complications due to the flu.

If you or someone in your home has a severe case of the flu or you ever experience any kind of medical emergency, get in touch with the experts at Complete Care. Contact us online to learn more.


Dr. Jeffrey Peebles, M.D. has an extensive amount of experience in delivering advanced emergency care. He is board certified with the American Board of Emergency Medicine, and a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians/Texas College of Emergency Physicians. Dr. Peebles is committed to providing timely, affordable and high-quality medical care to the Southlake community.