The flu virus continues to spread across the U.S., with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention closely tracking the number of confirmed cases and urging stringent precautions to minimize its impact.
Red Bud Regional Hospital continues to see flu-symptomatic patients in the emergency room and several patients have been admitted for treatment of flu-related complications.
While most will be able to endure the flu’s effects on their bodies and recover, others are at high risk for suffering complications and needing emergency intervention. Individuals at a higher risk include babies and children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and individuals with lung disease – such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
“Beyond feeling miserable, flu can develop into something much more serious, particularly for individuals who are at higher risk,” said Julie Kelly, M.D., an emergency physician at RBRH. “It’s important for these individuals to be monitored closely so they receive timely medical help if needed.”
If you suspect you have the flu virus, the CDC recommends seeking care from your doctor or an urgent care clinic, where you can be tested and receive a prescription for antiviral medication to minimize the intensity and duration of your symptoms. These medications work best when taken within 48 hours of becoming ill, but can still be beneficial when given later in the course of illness.
When you or someone you’re caring for experiences any of the following symptoms – the CDC recommends seeking help from the closest emergency department:
•No tears when crying
•Fewer wet diapers
•Bluish skin color
•Not drinking enough fluids
•Not waking up or interacting
•Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
•Symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
•Fever with a rash
•Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
•Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
•Severe or persistent vomiting
•Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
“It’s still not too late to get a flu shot this year, which can lessen your chances of getting sick,” Dr. Kelley said.
For more information on the flu, visit the special flu section at www.RedBudRegional.com. To find a primary care doctor, visit the “Find a Doctor” link on the home page or call 282-3831.