Flu season can be difficult, especially if you or a loved one catches the influenza virus. While most mild flus can be treated at home with rest and hydration, more severe symptoms will need some expert attention. Here’s what you need to know about how the flu is treated at an urgent care center.
The Flu and Its Symptoms
The flu virus infects the sinuses, throat, and sometimes lungs – an attack that signals an immune response from the body. This immune response causes symptoms like fever, chills, headache, lethargy, congestion, and cough.
Luckily, the flu is a treatable and generally non-threatening illness. In cases where an ordinarily healthy person gets the flu, staying at home and resting, as well as staying hydrated, is all that is needed to get over the infection. However, in some cases, such as in young children, pregnant women, or the elderly, medical professionals need to take action. This usually means a trip to an urgent care center or a walk-in clinic.
How Can Urgent Care Help Me?
Urgent care centers are the middle ground between your regular doctor and the emergency room. Unlike emergency departments, which are connected to hospitals and have access to more resources for critical issues, urgent care attends to patients who need immediate care for a non-life-threatening problem, like broken bones, asthma issues, and yes, the flu.
When you visit an urgent care center for a suspected flu, you will be tested for the influenza virus. If it is found, you might be prescribed antiviral medication. This is not a cure for the flu, but it could shorten the lifespan of the virus. Tamiflu will also shorten the flu by about a day, but it must be administered no more than two days into the illness. If you are found to be dehydrated, you could be given intravenous fluids.
Is There A Cure for the Flu?
Like the common cold, there is no current cure for the flu. Getting over the illness is mostly a matter of controlling the symptoms and ensuring that the infection doesn’t get out of hand. Providers at the urgent care center will be able to alleviate severe symptoms and help you get back to your healthy self recovering at home. If your condition appears too severe, they might send you to the emergency room for more in-depth treatment.
If you or someone in your home is experiencing uncomfortable flu symptoms, call ahead to an urgent care center for more information, or simply walk in for assistance.