Relentless flu season, doctors explain when its time to visit ER

Published: Jan. 26, 2018 at 10:10 PM EST
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Friday, Jan. 26, 2018

(News 12 at 6 O'clock / NBC 26 at 7)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Emergency rooms are being flooded with patients as the flu continues to spread. News 12's Alexa Lightle spoke with doctors to find out when you should go to the E.R.

The flu has been worse this year, but let me put it in perspective for you.

AU and doctors hospital tell me they see 100 more patients every day because of the flu. Those patients are flooding the E.R.

Doctors open up about when you should go to a walk-in clinic and when it's time to go to the emergency room.

Fighting the flu isn't easy and knowing when to go to the emergency room can be difficult.

Associate Chief Medical Officer for AUMC Doctor Phillip Coule says there a few factors that can determine when someone should go to the E.R.

"People that are a higher risk; those would be people over the age of 65 children under the age of 5 particularly children under the age of 2 that develop flu-like symptoms should consider seeking care either from their primary care provider or other emergency providers."

Coule says preexisting conditions are also a determining factor.

"People with preexisting lung disease are probably the highest risk because they have underlying lung disease particularly asthma, emphysema, COPD, those patients with the flu symptoms on top of that often develop complications and get sicker and therefore require admission."

Doctor Joycelynn Gray, a physician at Doctor's Hospital says there are a few more symptoms that can also help determine whether or not you should go to the ER.

"If you're having really bad chest pain with your flu-like symptoms, you're vomiting and you can't keep fluids down, patients who are having any kind of difficulty breathing or patients that have a fever that is not getting better with Tylenol or Motrin."

But if you aren't high risk or having these extreme symptoms doctors say you probably don't need to come to the ER.

"People who aren't high risk, probably plenty of bed rest, fluids, control the fever is all that really somebody needs to do, and we would urge those people to stay at home to prevent infecting everyone else."

For how long can we expect to see this amount of flu patients and the impact it's having on hospitals.

Doctor Cole with AUMC says he expects to see the flu continue to be this severe until next week but he says it should die down in early February.