Friday, May 1, 2009

When should I seek medical care for the Flu?

So far most cases of swine flu in the United States have resulted in mild illness so it’s important to make sure that our medical system is not overwhelmed by people seeking unnecessary medical care to make sure it is available for those who need care most. At this time, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department recommends people make decisions about when to seek medical care in the same way they would under normal circumstances.

If the following flu-like symptoms are mild, medical attention is not typically required.
• Runny nose or nasal stuffiness
• Low-grade fever for less than 3 days
• Mild headache
• Body aches
• Mild stomach upset

Consult with a health care provider promptly or seek medical care for the following flu-like symptoms:
• Fever (of at least 100.4 degrees F) for three days or more with no explanation
• Rapidly worsening illness
• Person is unresponsive and unable to get out of bed
• Bad sore throat
• Difficulty breathing
• Severe cough
• Chest pain

Unless you are severely ill, do not go to the Emergency Room. See your primary care provider, a walk-in clinic or urgent care facility. If you do not have a medical provider, call the Health Department at (253) 798-6500, or check our website for a list of clinics in Pierce County.