- With Mayo Clinic internist
James M. Steckelberg, M.D.read biographyclose window
James M. Steckelberg, M.D.James Steckelberg, M.D.
Dr. James Steckelberg is a consultant in the Division of Infectious Diseases and a professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School.
A native of Fremont, Neb., Dr. Steckelberg was a Rhodes Scholar and graduated from the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine as a resident in internal medicine and a fellow in infectious diseases, and is board certified in both. He is the former director of the Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory at Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Steckelberg belongs to numerous professional organizations. He is a founding member of the Musculoskeletal Infection Society and a fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He has served on many Mayo Clinic committees and is a member of the Department of Medicine Leadership Committee and of the executive committee of the Division of Infectious Diseases. He also served on the editorial boards of "Mayo Clinic Proceedings" and "Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy" and has been an editorial reviewer for more than a dozen publications.
Dr. Steckelberg's research interests include experimental models of infection, epidemiology of infection, and antimicrobial resistance and therapy of bacterial infections.
- What's the difference between H1N1 flu and influenza A?
Treatments and drugs (1)
- Flu and pregnancy: Is antiviral medication safe?
- Fluzone High-Dose: What distinguishes it from other flu vaccines?
- Immunization: Are you immune to a disease?
- Flu vaccine: Safe for people with egg allergy?
- see all in Prevention
Flu symptoms: Should I see my doctor?
I think I have the flu. Should I see my doctor?
from James M. Steckelberg, M.D.
Most people who have the flu (influenza) have a mild illness and don't need to see a doctor. Common flu signs and symptoms include:
- Fever above 100 F (38 C), though not everyone with the flu has a fever
- A cough or sore throat
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle aches
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea (most common in children)
With some rest and self-care measures at home, the average healthy person can expect to get better within about two weeks.
However, some people are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications and should see a doctor.
Who needs to see a doctor
If you or someone you're caring for is at high risk of flu-related complications and you suspect the flu, call the doctor. For those at high risk of flu-related complications, there's a greater chance that the flu might lead to pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and, rarely, hospitalization or death. It can also worsen chronic health problems such as asthma and congestive heart failure.
You have an increased risk of flu-related complications if you:
- Are younger than 5 years of age, but especially if younger than 2
- Are 65 years old or older
- Are pregnant
- Are younger than 19 years of age and are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
- Have certain chronic medical conditions, including asthma, emphysema, heart disease, diabetes, neuromuscular disease, and kidney, liver or blood disease
- Have a weakened immune system due to medications or HIV
- Have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater
- Are an American Indian or Alaska Native
If you're in one of these groups, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication — oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) — to reduce the severity and length of your symptoms.Next question
Self-care for the flu
- Seasonal influenza (flu). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm. Accessed June 24, 2013.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed June 24, 2013.
- Flu basics — symptoms. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.flu.gov/symptoms-treatment/symptoms/#. Accessed July 2, 2013.