When to See a Doctor for the Flu
Updated: Jul 2, 2019
The 2018 - 2019 Flu season expected to be relatively mild is defying predictions. The virus has affected children and teens more seriously. It is important to know when to see a doctor and seek treatment.
Each year in Canada, it is estimated that influenza causes approximately 12,200 hospitalisations and 3,500 deaths. It’s hard to know exactly how many people die from the flu each year. That's mainly because these deaths are often attributed to flu-related complications, such as pneumonia, sepsis, or heart failure, which means the flu may not actually be listed as the cause of death.
Getting your flu shot is still the most effective way to protect yourself against the flu and flu-related complications. The effectiveness of the vaccine varies from season to season. It is also important to remember that the flu shot protects against several different flu viruses each season. Even when there is a less-than-ideal match or lower effectiveness against one virus, the seasonal flu shot can still provide protection against the remaining two or three viruses. If you do get the flu, the flu shot may reduce the severity of your symptoms.
Remember: The flu shot is safe
- severe reactions are very rare
- you can't get the flu from the flu shot
- most people have no side effects from the flu shot
However, if you do get the flu, stay home. Avoid close contact with other people until you feel well enough to get back to your usual day-to-day activities. This will help prevent the spread of the flu. Most people recover from the flu in 7 to 10 days. If you don't recover and the symptoms seem to be getting worse, you need to see a doctor.
Visit your Family Physician or the nearest hospital if you develop any of these serious symptoms:
- shortness of breath
- rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
- chest pain
- bluish or grey skin colour
- bloody or coloured mucus/spit
- sudden dizziness
- severe or persistent vomiting
- high fever lasting more than three days
- low blood pressure
- convulsions from fever (usually seen in children)
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to post a comment below. And remember, "better safe than sorry!". If you are sick and seem to be getting worse, see a doctor immediately.
Healthcare Consultant, in4MED
*This blog is not a substitute for diagnosis and/or treatment from a licensed healthcare professional
The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.
**No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.