Columbus Dispatch/NBC4: Flu
Flu Season Still In Full Swing; Busy Emergency Rooms
It has been a rough flu season. Hospitals around central Ohio are working hard to answer the call for a steady increase in the number of patients coming through the doors.
“People are going to the extremes of temperature and they’re nasal mucosa is drying or running and basically their immune system is suppressed and they now have more chances of it being acquired by other folks that have the virus,” said Dr. Brian Weeks of OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital told NBC4.
With a 10-15 percent increase in the number of people coming into the emergency room at Dublin Methodist Hospital, Dr. Weeks says that is likely because of the bump in flu cases. With that in mind, hospital staff are working hard to keep others from exposure
“We provide masks to people in the lobby, both to visitors and the patients to try to decrease the amount of exposure from droplets,” said Dr. Weeks to reporter Courtney Yuen.
As for the flu vaccine, the strain impacting so many doesn't line up with the protection from this year's vaccine. Many doctors say its still important to get the flu vaccine though. From their experience, someone who has received the vaccine will likely have a shorter experience with the flu if they are exposed.
“It’s difficult to predict what the main strains are going to be and how effective the vaccines are going to be,” said Dr. Bruce Jones, emergency department director at OhioHealth Doctors Hospital. “People think if they get the shot, they are automatically immune.”
Both Dr. Jones and Dr. Weeks say there is no substitute for washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and when you are sick, stay home and rest.
“Some people have GI symptoms with that, so GI complaints in addition to the upper respiratory stuff,” Dr. Weeks said. “We seem to be seeing more of that maybe this year than we have in years past.”
The rapidity with how symptoms start, flu hits you like a Mack truck. It hits you fast and hits you hard. And that’s a week of your life that you feel horrible and a week that’s completely shot,” Dr. Jones said.