October 14, 2009
How do I know if I have the flu?
You may have the flu if you exhibit a few of these symptoms:
- Fever (It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever)
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- body aches
- sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
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 (if needed). Most people with the 2009 H1N1 virus (swine flu) have had mild illness and have not needed medical care or antiviral drugs. The same is true of the seasonal flu.
Do I need to go the emergency room if I am only a little sick?
The emergency room (ER) should be used for people who are very sick. You should not go to the ER if you are only mildly ill. If you have the emergency warning signs of the flu (see below), you should go to the ER. If you get sick with flu symptoms and are at high risk of flu complications, or you are concerned about your illness, call your health care provider for advice. If you go to the ER and you are not sick with the flu, you may catch it from people in the ER who do have it.
How long should I stay home if I am sick?
The CDC recommends you stay home for at lease 24 hours after your fever is gone (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.
There are emergency warning signs. Anyone who has them should get medical care right away.
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not 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
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting