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When You Should Call a Doctor

Seek medical attention if someone


  • Has a fever that lasts more than three days.
  • Has a fever or cough that goes away for 24 hours or more and then returns.
  • Has a fever with a stiff neck, a very bad headache, a severe sore throat, an earache or a rash.
  • Has less urine or dark urine.
  • Has green, brown-colored or bloody mucus that comes up when they cough.
  • Has severe vomiting or vomits for a long time.
  • Has difficulty drinking or taking a bottle.
  • Is very fussy or sleepy (infants and children).
  • Has any other unusual symptoms or concerns.
  • Has not gotten better after a week.

If you are pregnant or if you have a health problem like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, it is important to call your doctor when the first flu symptoms appear. Your health condition could be made worse by the flu.

Call 911 if someone


  • Is having trouble breathing - if breathing is very fast, difficult or painful.
  • Is having chest pain.
  • Is confused or unaware of their surroundings.
  • Is unable to wake up.
  • Has changes in their speech or speaks in a way you can't understand.
  • Can't walk or sit up.
  • Has skin that is bluish or gray in color.
  • Has a seizure (uncontrolled twitching or shaking).

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Contact Information

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215
Main Switchboard: 617-667-7000
Find a Doctor: 800-667-5356
Directions by Phone: 617-667-3000
TDD (for hearing impaired): 800-439-0183

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