Influenza cases are overwhelming Tallahassee Memorial's emergency rooms
The hospital is urging people with the flu to stay home or, in serious cases, head to a doctor's office or urgent care facility.
Last year, COVID was stressing the area's health care system. This year, it seems old-fashioned influenza is back with a vengeance.
Maybe it's because fewer people are wearing masks and social distancing nowadays. But Megan Dunaway, assistant nurse manager at Tallahassee Memorial's Northeast emergency room, said flu cases have returned big time.
"We are seeing a huge increase from last year. We don't have the numbers specifically, (but) our waiting rooms and ER's are being overwhelmed with flu-positive patients," Dunaway says.
That also means a greater chance for other patients there to also catch the flu. And unless people are experiencing life-threatening symptoms, Dunaway said the best course of action is to simply stay home and wait it out.
"There's no medicine for this. There's not an emergency care that can be given for these mild symptoms," Dunaway says. "With the flu, it's supportive care so drinking lots of fluids at home, fever control with Tylenol and ibuprofen and then trying to distance as much as you can until your symptoms have resolved."
In more serious cases, Dunaway suggests a trip to the primary care doctor or nearest urgent care center. Not the hospital emergency room.
According to Tallahassee Memorial, between Oct. 9 and Nov. 5, the weekly count of total positive flu cases coming to the hospital's facilities have risen from 408 to 779. The flu positivity rate during the same period has more than doubled from 14% to 31%.
Copyright 2022 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.