2018’s flu season is the worst on record in the last decade. The season could last longer than expected, and 53 kids have died during this flu epidemic, according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hospitals and doctors’ offices are filled with people trying to cure their flu. People are trying to see their primary care doctor, but they are overwhelmed already by the surge of people coming to them with the flu.
“We had to put two beds in each room just to be able to handle the sheer volume of pediatric patients,” Dr. Mark Rosenberg admitted. “This year, the big difference is the flu vaccine. We’re seeing more people come in who had the flu vaccine who now have the flu.” he added. Dr. Rosenberg is the chairman of emergency medicine at the St. Joseph’s Healthcare System in Paterson, New Jersey.
Kids are especially affected by the flu
Dr. Rosenberg explains this year he has seen a lot of people with the flu. He says that this strain seems to be more virulent and it comes on more quickly than in other years. The kids and the very old are getting sicker, especially if they have had other chronic illnesses.
“This year, so many people who have the flu are trying to see their primary care physician but those primary care offices are completely filled and overwhelmed,” Rosenberg said. “So when a patient calls up and says ‘Can I have an appointment?’ they say go to the emergency department. A large number of patients we see are actually trying to see their primary care doctors, but instead they come to the emergency department because we have unlimited access capability for anybody who has the flu or has an illness.”
He said that they are not giving out a lot of Tamiflu because people don’t need that to get better. They are only giving Tamiflu to those who are seriously ill, the ones who are pregnant and the little ones.
The flu season might last longer than expected this year
He also stated that there are patients sharing hospital rooms, especially in pediatrics where there are two beds per room. That allows them to handle the volume of patients in that area. Dr. Rosemberg said they had had a 20 percent increase in pediatric and geriatric patients who have gone to the hospital because of the flu.
Dr. Rosemberg said that typically the flu tends to start at Thanksgiving and it ends at Easter. When spring weather comes along, it is possible to say that flu dissipates in a couple of weeks. However this year it might last a couple more weeks.
He also says that the most important thing is to get the flu vaccine, because if someone has the vaccine, then the symptoms and duration of the flu will be less. People should also wash their hands every time they can.