When to Call the Doctor: Symptoms of Potentially Dangerous Complications

While the flu is usually uncomplicated and ends within a week, it can be associated with serious-and sometimes fatal complications.

Call your healthcare provider at the first sign of flu if...


  • you have chronic heart or lung disease
  • your immune system is suppressed
  • you have a chronic metabolic disease such as diabetes
  • your child is receiving long-term aspirin therapy
  • you are pregnant
  • you have renal dysfunction

Call your healthcare provider if you develop any of the following symptoms while you have the flu:

  • severe confusion, seizures, or loss of consciousness
  • bleeding
  • ear pain
  • prolonged headache
  • irregular heartbeat
  • a wheezy cough
  • a cough that brings up thick, green or rust-colored mucus
  • a cough that brings up blood
  • difficulty breathing
  • a high fever that extends beyond 4 or 5 days, or that returns after abating