How to know your flu symptoms require emergency care

29 Jan 2013, 09:00
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flu symptoms

As you may know, the common symptoms of the flu include:


  1. Fever or feeling feverish/chill.
  2. Cough.

  3. Sore throat.

  4. Runny or stuffy nose.

  5. Muscle or body aches.

  6. Headaches.

  7. Fatigue (very tired).

  8. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.


Except the general symptoms there are several emergency flu signs that you need to know about. Anyone who experiences any of these signs should receive medical emergency care right away.


The most important emergency signs in children are:


  1. Elevated breathing and troubled breathing.

  2. Bluish, or greenish skin color.

  3. Not willing to drink enough fluid. The child may not go to the bathroom as often as normal, or have significantly fewer wet diapers.

  4. Not waking up or not interacting.

  5. The child may become so irritable that she or he refuses to be held.

  6. Flu-like symptoms that first improve, but then return with fever and worse cough.


The emergency warning signs for adults are slightly different.


The immediate emergency care must be provided to the adults who experience one or several of following symptoms:


  1. Difficulty breathing of shortness of breath

  2. Pain and pressure in the chest or abdomen.

  3. Instances of sudden dizziness.

  4. Severe vomiting, or vomiting that is persistent and continues.

  5. General confusion and loss of attention, appetite and feeling of time.


There are also categories of people who are at higher risk of developing the complications. These categories are strongly advised to go through the flu vaccination every year and the emergency warning signs must be strictly observed in these people.


  1. Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old.

  2. Adults 65 years or oder.

  3. Pregnant women.

  4. American Indians and Alaskan Natives seem to be at higher risk of flu complications.

  5. People who have medical conditions including:

  • Asthma (even if it’s controlled or mild).

  • Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions [including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability (mental retardation), moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury.
  • Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis).
  • Hart Disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease).
  • Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease).
  • Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus).
  • Kidney disorders.
  • Liver disorders.
  • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders).
  • Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV/AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids).
  • People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy.
  • People who are morbidly obese (Body Mass Index [BMI] of 40 or greater).
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