High flu numbers cause Emergency Room back-ups
High flu cases are causing long wait times in the Emergency Room.
Munson Medical Center's Emergency Department is experiencing high numbers of patients with flu-like-symptoms and is causing long wait times in the Emergency Department.
These wait times, Munson says, are putting other patients at risk for exposure to the disease.
"Our emergency department is very busy evaluating and treating people with flu symptoms," said Karen Speirs, Infectious Disease Specialist. "Michigan is one of 41 states reporting widespread flu activity. This year's predominant strain is particularly severe in young children and the elderly."
The flu typically begins with a high fever, headache, muscle pain, cough, runny nose, chills and sore throat, according to Munson. They say some children may have an upset stomach and diarrhea.
Dr. Speirs advises those who are sick to stay home until their fever has been gone for 24 hours. She says it is not necessary to go to the Emergency Room for flu symptoms as many medications can relieve the symptoms.
People who experience severe illness, or who are at a high risk for flu complications, should seek medical care. This includes pregnant women, people under the age of 24, and people with chronic medical conditions.
Munson says the best prevention against the flu is vaccination. At home, people should remember to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, or run hands until dry with hand sanitizer. They also remind people that it is important to use "proper cough etiquette" by coughing into a sleeve rather than into your hand.
Visitors at the hospital are asked to use the Main Lobby doors and not to enter the hospital through the Emergency Room entrance. Family and friends should also not visit patients if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms.