Children and adults who are ill and at high risk for flu complications and people with more severe flu symptoms should call their regular health care provider or go to an urgent care clinic or emergency department if they cannot reach their health care provider. Whenever possible, call your health care provider to get advice on whether you need to be seen.
The best use of the emergency department is for individuals with symptoms of serious illness needing urgent attention; or ill individuals who are at increased risk for flu complications, and are unable to contact a health care provider.
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Children younger than 5 years old - particularly children younger than 2 years old, adults 65 years of age or older and pregnant women.
Persons with chronic diseases of the lung (including asthma), heart (except hypertension), kidney, liver, blood (including sickle cell disease), brain or nervous system, muscles (particularly those that cause difficulty with swallowing), or metabolism (including diabetes mellitus); immunosuppressant (weakened immune system) including that caused by medications or by HIV.
Persons younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy because of an increased risk for Reye syndrome.
Influenza (also known as the flu) and influenza H1N1 are both influenza viruses that can cause mild to severe illness. Influenza usually comes on suddenly and typically includes fever and cough or sore throat. Other symptoms may include headache, extreme tiredness, runny or stuffy nose, or muscle aches. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are other flu symptoms and are typically more common in children than adults.
Most children and adults with the flu who are generally in good health will recover without needing to visit a health care provider. Some people may want to call their health care provider for advice on how to care for the flu at home.
Testing and treatment is not needed or recommended for most children and adults who get the flu. Antiviral medication is not currently recommended except for people with the flu who are at higher risk for complications (see below) or have severe illness.
For children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
For adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include: