ER's are filling up with H1N1 patients - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

ER's are filling up with H1N1 patients

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Posted by Noah Stubbs - email

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Substantial flu illness has hit nearly every state, according to the CDC.

The most recent flu data show the virus continues to impact pregnant women: through the end of August, 100 women had to be hospitalized and 28 died.

In Evansville, one young mother remains in intensive care with the swine flu.

Experts say the first doses of the H1N1 vaccine will be available Tuesday.

The nasal vaccine and will first go to health care workers and children, ages six to 24 months.

The H1N1 shot will be available later next week.

States and cities are developing distribution plans.

Here in the Tri-State, health officials issue a new warning when it comes to the virus.

They say to avoid a pandemic patients, who are high risk with flu like symptoms, should only make trips to the emergency room and health clinics as a last resort.

Emergency rooms and health care clinics are filling up fast with flu sick patients.

Officials are say only go to the ER If you have emergency problems.

A local hospital emergency room and convient cares have seen more patients lately waiting to be treated for flu like symptoms.

Doctors say it may not be the best idea to get treated there.

"Being in public is not a good idea because it exposes other people," Dr. Timothy Almquist said. "Certainly we do have a chance of a large number of people in the emergency room and clinics and being in those locations and becoming exposed."

Dr. Almquist says if you display flu signs such as fever, a cough, sore throat or body aches then consult your personal physician first.

"Typically taking fluids, Ibuprofen brands of fever medication are a good idea," Almquist says.

Dr. Almquist says never hesitate to come to the emergency room if you experience serious warning signs of a flu-like illness.

"If you have difficulty breathing, chest pains, abdominal pains or other issues that you consider to require assistance please make sure you come to the hospital," Almquist says.

Family practice physician, Dr. Don Brake encourages his patients to call as soon as they start to show signs of the flu or H1N1.

"Calls us or my preference is just have you come in and what we have done for a few patients if they have symptoms, prescribatory symptoms, we will give them a mask," Brake says.

Dr. Brake says right now he is prescribing Tammiflu for his patients who feel they can't self medicate.

Patients may have some options if they do not have a personal doctor or medical insurance.

"Echo Clinic and some urgent cares are available," Brake says.

While some doctors may treat patients for their flu symptoms over the phone, Dr. Brake says you stop in and see your physician so you are diagnosed correctly.

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