Should you call the doctor, if you think you have the flu?

(KOMO file photo)

A lot of people are on the sick list right now – fighting the flu, a terrible cold or that nasty respiratory infection going around.

So how do you know that it's time to call the doctor or head to the emergency room?

I put that question to Dr. John Lynch, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington, who specializes in infectious diseases. He said the decision should be based on your symptoms, and if you're not getting better.

"If you're feeling very sick, you're having trouble breathing, having trouble keeping down fluids or eating, that's when we really want you to touch base with someone,” Dr. Lynch said. “So it's important to think about your whole condition and not necessarily only whether this is influenza or not."

And what about that fever? What’s the number to watch?

'I think that if you get to 103 or 104 degrees and you're feeling pretty sick, it's probably worth giving a call to your primary care doctor's office about whether you need to be seen,” he said.

Keep in Mind: Health experts say it’s not too late to get a flu shot. Even if it doesn’t keep you from getting the flu, it should make it less severe, if you do get sick. This flu season has a long ways to go.

More Info: CDC - Is It a Cold or the Flu?

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