Flu Guidelines

If you or your child is experiencing flu-like symptoms, use the following criteria to keep yourself and others safe. For life-threatening symptoms, call 911.

Woman with the flu

Adult Influenza Guidelines

If you are LOW RISK, stay at home and use over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen, to relieve fever and aches. Consult your care provider if you have trouble breathing, or are short of breath, have pain in your chest or belly, get suddenly dizzy, feel confused, or have severe vomiting.

Low Risk includes:

  • Younger than 65 years old
  • No chronic conditions *
  • Not taking any immune-suppressing drugs
  • Not pregnant
  • Not Native American
  • Weigh less than 250 pounds
  • Not living with someone with a high risk condition or children less than two years of age
  • Not living in a nursing facility

If you are high-risk, consult your provider for your best treatment options, which will likely include antiviral medication.

High Risk includes:

  • 65 years old
  • Chronic conditions, including diabetes or asthma
  • Immunosuppressed including autoimmune medications, HIV, cancer and chronic steroids
  • Pregnant or postpartum (within two weeks of delivery call your primary care physician or obstetrician)
  • Less than 19 years on aspirin therapy
  • American Indian/Native American
  • BMI (body mass index) greater than 40 (example 5’8” tall and you weigh 260 pounds)
  • Resident of nursing home/chronic care facility

If you are high-risk and need care, it’s likely we can treat you over the phone.  Consider the following options:

You should stay home while you are sick with the flu and wash your hands frequently. Do not go to work or school until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours, without taking fever-reducing medicine, such as acetaminophen, or as directed by your health care provider.

* Chronic conditions include: Chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except hypertension), renal, hepatic, hematological (including sickle cell disease), metabolic disorders (including diabetes), or neurological/neurodevelopmental conditions (stroke, intellectual disability, developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury.)

Pediatric Influenza Guidelines (Age 17 and Younger)

Contact your provider now — night or day — if:

  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • Not alert when awake
  • Difficulty breathing — not relieved by cleaning out the nose
  • Weak immune system (sickle cell disease, HIV, chemotherapy, organ transplant, chronic steroids, etc.)
  • Fever higher than 104° F (40° C) and not improved two hours after fever medicine
  • Age under 12 weeks with fever above 100.4° F (38.0° C) rectally. (Caution: Do NOT give your baby any fever medicine before being seen.)
  • If vomiting/diarrhea and not urinating three to four times in 12 hours.
  • You think your child needs to be seen urgently

Contact your doctor within 24 hours (between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.) if:

  • You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
  • Earache or cloudy discharge from ear canal
  • Sinus pain around cheekbone or eyes (not just congestion)
  • Fever present for more than three days
  • Fever returns after gone for 24 hours