This has been a particularly active flu season, and the West Coast has reported some of the highest rates of illness in the country. If influenza hasn’t come knocking at your household yet, consider yourself lucky.
If you do get the flu, you might be wondering if you should seek out medical care. That depends in part on your symptoms and health history. To help you decide if you should make an appointment, our flu specialists created this guide.
If you decide you want to see a doctor, you can always visit us at our SmartClinic Urgent Care in West Covina or Santa Clarita, California. With us, you have the flexibility to make an appointment or simply walk in.
When to see a doctor for the flu
Most people don’t need to seek medical attention when they get the flu. Influenza usually causes symptoms only for a week or less. Unless you experience severe symptoms that worry you, you can wait out your illness at home.
Get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. Also, steer clear of contact with anyone else in your household to avoid getting them sick.
The above applies if you’re generally in good health with a low risk of complications from the flu. But for infants, adults over age 65, or people with any of the following health conditions, the flu could mean trouble. See a doctor if you have flu symptoms and also have:
- A blood disorder
- A body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more
- An endocrine disorder
- Heart disease
- A kidney disease
- A liver disorder
- Lung disease
- A metabolic disorder
- A weakened immune system
You should also make a doctor’s appointment if you get the flu while you’re pregnant.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a resource for people with a high risk of flu complications, including links to pages with more specific information on certain health conditions. Consider our team a resource, too, and call us if you have questions or concerns.
Preventing the flu
Unless you fall into a high-risk group, you don’t need to see a doctor for the flu. That said, you still might want to make a flu-related appointment — before you get sick — it’s not too late to get your flu shot. And if you have health insurance, this shot won’t cost you anything.
The flu shot gets updated each season to defend against the most common strains of influenza. If you want to avoid several days of uncomfortable symptoms, feel free to make a flu shot appointment at either of our offices or simply walk in.
Do you have the flu and want medical attention? Call the SmartClinic Urgent Care clinic nearest you, or walk into either of our offices today.