Questions answered about the fluGuest columnist
FAQs about the Flu – Part 2:
Do I need to go the emergency room if I am sick? If you are beginning to exhibit flu symptoms, you are advised to contact your primary care physician to have your symptoms assessed. If, however, you have emergency warning signs of flu sickness, you should go to the emergency room.
What are the emergency warning signs of flu sickness?
• 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
In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:
• Being unable to eat
• Has trouble breathing
• Has no tears when crying
• Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
• Sudden dizziness
• Severe or persistent vomiting
• Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
How long should I stay home if I’m sick? The CDC recommends you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities. 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.
What should I do while I’m sick? Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. If you must leave home, for example to get medical care, wear a facemask if you have one, or cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Wash your hands often to keep from spreading flu to others.
Jacie C. Volkman, MPH, CIC is the director, Mission Hospital Infection Prevention and Epidemiology.