Flu season is worsening and if you get the flu it could be life-threatening.
Health officials say influenza kills anywhere between 3,000 and 49,000 people a year in the U.S.
So how do you know when to tough it out or head to the emergency room? Here are some guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Pennsylvania Medical Society.
Call 911 if:
- You or a child has severe difficulty breathing
- A child is making grunting noises with each breath
- A flu patient has passed out or stopped breathing
- The lips turn blue when the patient isn't coughing
Go to the emergency room if:
- Breathing is fast or there is trouble breathing
- Skin has turned bluish
- A child is not drinking enough fluids
- A child is not waking up or not interacting
- A child is too irritable to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough -- this can indicate a "secondary infection"
- There's fever with a rash
- An infant cries with no tears or has very few wet diapers -- this can indicate dehydration, which can kill quickly
- There's difficulty breathing
- There's sudden dizziness or confusion
- There's chest or abdomen pain
- There's severe vomiting
Once you get over the flu, the CDC recommends that you stay home at least 24 hours after your fever is gone and your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol.