Think you have the flu? Where to go for treatment
It can be difficult to tell the difference between influenza (flu) and the common cold based on symptoms alone. Both come with fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and dry cough.
“Even doctors sometimes don’t know for sure whether it is cold or flu symptoms,” says Trevor Bullock, D.O., Summa Physicians Inc. – Family Medicine/Sports Medicine. “Many times, they present in the same way.”
One major difference, according to Dr. Bullock: Flu symptoms will appear more severely. “Flu will hit you more quickly,” he stresses.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has become ill with the flu, the next step is to determine whether to go to an emergency room or make an appointment with your primary care physician. Dr. Bullock says the person’s medical history is one factor when making that decision.
- Pregnant women
- Young children
- Individuals with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), etc.
“These patients are more likely to experience complications,” Dr. Bullock emphasizes. “They are at a higher risk. They should get in sooner rather than later.”
Primary care physician
- Individuals with no previous medical conditions
- Individuals with no respiratory distress or breathing problems
In many cases, these individuals don’t need to seek treatment for flu symptoms. “They will resolve on their own in seven to 14 days,” Dr. Bullock says.
One way to help protect against flu is to receive a yearly influenza vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine for individuals 6 months of age and older.
Depending on the circumstances, a physician may prescribe an antiviral medication such as Tamiflu® (oseltamivir), which will have the most benefit if given within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, Dr. Bullock says. The medication can make your illness milder, help you feel better faster and prevent serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia. There are no recommended over-the-counter medications to fight the flu.
Dr. Bullock sees patients at Summa Health Center at Cuyahoga Falls, 1860 State Road, Suite F, Cuyahoga Falls, OH. To make an appointment with Dr. Bullock or another Summa Physician Inc. doctor, call (800) 237-8662.