Health Team

Flu overruns area emergency rooms

Posted February 11, 2011

— The number of patients complaining of flu-like symptoms has spiked in hospital emergency rooms across the Triangle in recent weeks.

At WakeMed in Raleigh, for example, emergency room physicians treated about 300 people last month for flu, compared with 32 in December.

Dr. Robert Park said the the number is soaring because many people have skipped getting a flu shot this season after worries about the H1N1 flu virus prompted more people to get vaccinated a year ago.

"Last year, there was no flu really, no major flu season," Park said. "This year, it's come back with vengeance."

Asi Jackson said he simply didn't think about getting a flu shot.

flu shot Flu reports on the rise

Sharon Evans, meanwhile, said she makes a point of getting a shot every year.

"The last time I had the flu, I thought I was absolutely going to die, and I didn't want to get it again," Evans said.

A flu shot is needed annually because the flu strains usually change from one year to the next, Park said.

For symptoms like fever, chills and body aches, he recommended that people see their primary care physician first and then head to the ER if the symptoms become worse.

"If you start having horrible symptoms like dizziness, passing out, difficulty breathing – red-flag symptoms that something's not right – then absolutely, you should be seen," he said.

Otherwise, he said, getting plenty of rest and fluids and taking Motrin or Tylenol for the aches and fever are the best treatments for the flu.


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  • gnewsome1 Feb 18, 2011

    Good point MRLEE34. Some things cannot be taught, especially common sense.

  • gnewsome1 Feb 18, 2011

    Cut us a break. If you are too ignorant to get a preventative shot, healthy immune system and all, stay at home and don't infect the rest of us. I don't like the shots. I hate the flu. Use your common sense, if you have any.

  • jellygirl Feb 17, 2011

    Alright, enough already, if you don't want a flu shot, don't get it but at least have the courtesy to stay at HOME if you're sick so the rest of us won't get it! That means home...not the mall and don't take your kids out to the mall to get a treat after being good and testing positive for the flu at the doctor! There was a reason we used to quarantine people and that was because they didn't have vaccines. If you all want to go back to that time then keep refusing vaccines!

  • independentvoter3 Feb 16, 2011

    Mr. Spock. Prepare a tachyon pulse, wide dispersion, all bands, all frequencies. Let's wipe out these nasty flu bugs once and for all. Mr. Spock... fire at will!!!

  • Steven Feb 16, 2011

    What a surprise, a flu topic that mentions shots, and then the typical ignorant commentary that comes with it.

    Get your shot and you're less likely to end up getting the flu unless you get a strain it doesn't cover. Rather cover the bases as best I can. If you're sick, please keep yourself home to avoid spreading it to others. Work or school isn't important enough to be doing that. If those people would avoid others, then maybe the stuff wouldn't spread like it does.

  • mrlee34 Feb 15, 2011

    It really all amounts to common sense. Unfortunately though, you can't teach common sense. You catch the flu due to touching something or someone in public and then touching your mouth or nose. I never touch public doors without a napkin in between my hand. And if I do....I will make sure to wash my hands immediately. And people dont realize, that they should shut the sink off after washing with a paper tile as well. Because if you think about it, you are touching the same knob that every dirty hand does to turn it on. Also, when I go out to eat I grab ketchup bottles or shakers with a napkin. You have no idea how many times I have watched grown men walk out of the bathroom without washing their hands....and they are the same men touching those ketchup bottles and public doors. I think all that is pretty much common sense!

  • zProt Feb 15, 2011

    Paleo. Seriously. Thank you.

  • Iworkforaliving Feb 15, 2011

    Paleo? seriously? please.

  • zProt Feb 15, 2011

    "...They have to make these shots about a year in advance so they have to make an educated guess on what to put in the vaccine."

    I love the phrase "educated guess" when it comes to researchers funded by bottom-line corporations. "Random guess" is more like it. Do your homework. It ain't worth it.

  • zProt Feb 15, 2011

    "My family has had a horrible flu but we all got shot. I had to get IV's for mine. I don't understand why the shot didn't help my family."

    Because you've been lied to. The most effective preventative is a healthy immune system. One word: Paleo. Look it up.