Flu & Flu-like Symptoms

The flu (short for influenza) is an extremely contagious respiratory illness that typically hits during the winter season through early spring.

It is caused by a group of influenza viruses and develops quickly, unlike colds, which progress more slowly, and tend to come on at any time of the year.

The flu virus attacks the body by spreading through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract. Most patients with the flu will recover on their own without medical care. But in some cases, the flu can be life-threatening, and so it’s important to know how to recognize signs of a flu emergency.

If you experience any one of the below symptoms, it is important to undergo an assessment by one of our critically-trained physicians at Clear Choice Emergency Room before your flu leads to a condition that can become deadly, such as pneumonia. Red flag symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Mental confusion or sudden dizziness
  • Getting better, then spiking a fever and developing a worsening cough
  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • Purple or blue lips
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Seizure

In children, emergency symptoms include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing.
  • Bluish skin color.
  • Not drinking enough fluids.
  • Not waking up or not interacting.
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held.
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with a fever and worse cough.
  • Fever with a rash.


People who are at high risk for flu complications include young children, people ages 65 and over, pregnant women and people with chronic conditions. If people in this “high-risk” group develop flu-like symptoms, the CDC recommends they should receive treatment with antiviral medications early in the course of their illness.

Head to Clear Choice Emergency Room for high-quality medical care, without the long-wait times typical of most hospital emergency rooms. We’re open seven days a week, 365 days a year, and at any given time, you will be seen by a board certified, highly experienced emergency care physician.