Like many people, you’re probably well aware of the classic signs of an influenza infection and have most likely experienced them yourself. As such, you’re familiar with that telltale feverish feeling accompanied by chills, body aches, fatigue, a runny nose, a sore throat, and other symptoms that can make you want to crawl back into bed and stay there.
The flu can make you feel miserable and interfere with your daily activities for days or even weeks. If so, you’re not alone. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 30 million Americans seek flu treatment each year, with more than 200,000 ultimately hospitalized for flu complications such as pneumonia.
While many people recover from the flu without professional treatment, it’s important to know when to visit an urgent care center and what else to do if you become ill.
When to Go to an Urgent Care Center for Flu Treatment
Some people are at heightened risk for flu complications. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), those include adults 65 and older, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and individuals who have a chronic health condition, such as asthma, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, or diabetes. If you are in a high-risk group and experience flu symptoms, you should go to an urgent care center right away (and be sure to explain your high-risk status).
If you are not in a high-risk group, you may be able to relieve your mild-to-moderate flu symptoms at home, but you can also go to an urgent care center if you need help. For severe and potentially life-threatening symptoms, such as chest pain and difficulty breathing, you should always call 911 or go directly to the nearest hospital emergency room.
How to Treat the Flu at Home
If you think you might be sick with the flu, your first order of business is to stay home. The influenza virus is highly contagious, so you’ll need to take steps to avoid infecting others. Plus, you will feel tired as your body works hard to fight off the infection. Take advantage of the unexpected downtime and allow yourself to get some much-needed rest.
If you have a fever, it most likely means that your body has “turned up the heat” to battle the infection. Although that’s a good sign, it could make you uncomfortable. If needed, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever or fever reducer. Also, be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Water, fruit juices, sports drinks, and broth-based soups are all good choices. In addition to preventing dehydration, increased fluid intake can help thin the mucus in your respiratory system, making it easier for you to cough it out. Otherwise, excess mucus may settle in your lungs, where it can trap germs and cause a more severe infection.
Have Questions? Ask Us!
If you have questions or need treatment for non-emergency flu symptoms, you are welcome to contact or visit Medella Urgent Care. Our practice was founded by two board-certified emergency room physicians who sought to find a better way to offer comprehensive urgent care to our community. We have walk-in clinics conveniently located in Magnolia and Vintage Park, TX.