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Colds and flu

Updated 01 March 2019

Flu: when to visit your doctor

Under certain circumstances you may need to consult your doctor when you have the flu.

Do you have the flu? Consult your doctor:

  • If you have a high fever for more than a few hours that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter medicine, and you aren’t certain whether the fever is due to the flu, it’s a good idea to see a healthcare professional for an opinion.
  • If your fever lasts longer than two days.
  • If you feel sick and just don't seem to get better.
  • If you have a cough that begins to produce phlegm.
  • Any sign of complications of flu should prompt a visit to a healthcare professional. 
  • If you have difficulty breathing or feel a sharp pain when breathing.
  • If you fall into any of the high-risk categories recommended for vaccination, even a mild bout of flu should be treated by a health professional. This includes people with cancer, people on medication after organ transplantation and HIV-positive people.

Reviewed by Cape Town-based general practitioner, Dr Dalia Hack. March 2019.

Read more:

- Flu risk factors

- How is the flu diagnosed?

 

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Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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