Hurley ER overwhelmed by flu: How to avoid a visit

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FLINT (WJRT) (2/17/2020) - "It's airborne, it's person-to-person, and it's easily transmittable," explained Hurley Medical Center's Dr. Jim Weber.

He said their ER is overwhelmed right now with flu patients.

'We're considered a high frequency zone, so to speak. And, within the last 3 weeks, our flu numbers have absolutely been astronomical. We're seeing 20-30 times a day, just here in the emergency department," Dr. Weber said.

He said patients are dealing with both type A and type B of the flu; and, the majority didn't get the flu vaccine. Even though it's not a perfect match again this year, he said flu patients who did receive the shot are having a much easier time handling the symptoms of the virus.

"And, that's the real goal is to decrease both the severity and the duration of illness," Dr. Weber said.

He added that simple hygiene is a critical defense, too. That includes washing your hands often, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, not sharing utensils, as well as frequently washing down counter tops and your cell phone.

"Those are all little things that are tremendously important when the flu is around," he said.

And, it's going to be around until at least March, maybe even until April, Dr. Weber said.

"So, the best means of secondary prevention is really on the front end to get vaccinated. And for future reference and future seasons, the earlier the better because it takes about two weeks to confirm immunity," he added.

Due to this second wave of the flu virus, Hurley Medical Center is now only allowing visitors ages 12 and up.

You're being asked to stay home if you a fever, cough, diarrhea, or cold and flu symptoms.

Visitors who plan to visit someone in isolation will have to wear gowns, gloves, and a mask.

And of course, expect a lot of hand washing and sanitizer.

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