Kingman Regional Medical Center’s emergency department and urgent care clinic are currently experiencing record high patient volumes. For example, on December 27, 2017, 202 patients were signed in to the emergency department within a 24-hour period. KRMC asks the public to be aware that wait times may be longer than usual.
In spite of illness prevention efforts, including influenza vaccination and hand hygiene campaigns, “Arizona has been hit hard and early with influenza-like illness” says KRMC Emergency Services Clinical Manager Jennifer Rohler.
Influenza (flu) is a respiratory illness. People with the flu may experience some or all of these symptoms, which often come on suddenly:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills – it is important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (very tired)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in young children than in adults
If you are typically healthy and have no underlying health issues, you do not need to seek medical treatment. If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home until you have been without a fever for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications). KRMC recommends over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms. Most people will not need antiviral medication and will recover in under two weeks.
However, it is important to seek medical care if you are at risk of developing flu-related complications. People at risk include:
- Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
- Adults 65 years of age and older
- Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
The following conditions also increase a person’s risk for developing flu-related complications:
- Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)
- Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
- Kidney disorders
- Liver disorders
- Weakened immune system due to disease or medication
- Extreme obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or more)
Also, it is important to go to the emergency department if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Persistent or severe vomiting that doesn’t go away
- Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then come back again with a fever or worsening cough
The best way to prevent infection is by receiving the flu vaccine. Healthy lifestyle habits can also protect you from seasonal illness. Eat a balanced diet and get plenty of sleep. Additionally, remember to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your nose and mouth as much as possible, and clean and disinfect any surfaces or objects that may be contaminated.
To learn more about flu, risks, and symptoms, visit the Centers for Disease Control website at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/index.html