Flu epidemic?

Specialties Emergency


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20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.
Originally posted by passing thru

To the poster who wrote they didn't know why /or what people were expecting from the ER............

The newspapers and t.v. have been advising people to go to their ER's within the 1st 24 hours of onset of symptoms, because the flu could be nipped in the bud ""if medications were begun immediately, but were useless to stop the progression of the disease if the patient waits longer than 24 hrs.""

Is this not true?

IT IS..I heard this on the news myself. In exactly those words. GOOD POINT. Get steamed at the media if you must,not at people who are driven to frightened frenzy by the news media regarding this "deadly" flu epidemic.


656 Posts

This is my last week in school. What did my RN instructor say to me because I have been sick for 8 days (I called out of a clinical in the hospital, but attended lecture and testing as I would FAIL had I NOT): Did you go to the doctor yet?

My answer: umm, no, if I get SOB like the time I had pnueomonia you bet I will, but for the annoying VIRAL symptoms I doubt there is anything they could do for me. Other than school, I have been home drinking plenty of fluids and resting.

So if my RN instructor thought going to the doctor was appropriate, think what the poor Average Joe is thinking!


48 Posts

I think this thread got a little off track. I was just wanting to know how the flu "epidemic" was effecting other ER's around the country.........:)


97 Posts

How many of you are seeing febrile seizures? :confused:

I am getting a little tired of seeing children multiple times for the same thing-febrile seizures. Initially the parent will come in carrying a child-usually about 18 months old-in a panic because the child is having a seizure. They are all wrapped up against the cold, and when the vitals are taken, the fever will be 105.6*F! With a little ibuprofen, and rarely IV fluids, the childs fever comes down, and they are discharged home with information about the flu, and EXPLICIT instructions about how to manage symptoms.

Within 5-6 hours the same child is rushed back in having another seizure and the fever is >105.0*F again. They are once again treated, and the parents are usually pissed off that they were already here once, and they thought we fixed their child, so it's MY problem that it happened again and they had to come back.

I have been seeing positive influenza since September here, but it really stepped up in the weeks before Thanksgiving. We seem to be in a bit of a respite and slowing way down with new cases. Maybe we just got hit earlier than everyone else and we're almost finished...*~sigh...I can dream can't I?!?!?~*

Has anyone else noticed that with all the media attention, they are quick to point out the symptoms, and they even make it clear that children/teens shouldn't be given ASA...but they don't stress what you SHOULD do (APAP, ibuprofen, fluids, rest). It seems that would make all of our lives easier if that bit of info was included in every broadcast.

Okay, enough from me. Although the nursing staff has stayed mostly healthy, our docs have been hit hard, so life in the ER has been a bit more stressful than it might usually be in these circumstances. Thanks for the vent time...good luck and good health to all...and remember WASH THOSE HANDS!!!

Specializes in ED staff.

What is with parents not treating their child's fever? I've had several come in this week with temp of 104. WHen is the last time you gave tylenol or motrin? "yesterday." !!!! I actually think we are seeing 2 different illnesses where I am. Right now I have the mild variety, low grade fever, bronchitis and hurting allover. The other much worse variety I think is the real flu, high fever, cough, N&V, diarrhea. I've had several adults that were dehydrated and had to be admitted just to get IV fluids. I didn't go to work this evening cause I am coughing so badly. Hope all of you guys stay well :) Wendy


48 Posts

I wish I had a dollar for everytime I have heard parents say "We didn't give him nuttin fer his fever, we wanted you to see how high it was" or "i gave her Tylenol about 8 hours ago but it ain't working, the fever went down, but it came back"....I sweetly smile and say "Tylenol is not a miracle drug, you have to keep giving it to the child":idea:


131 Posts

I don't work in an ER, I currently work in a LTC facility and casual in an ICU.

I have had to swab 3 nares so far in the long term care facility, more than has ever been done here. No positive cases so far.

The hospital has reported about 14 cases of identified influenza so far this season.

I don't understand the rush for vaccination, it doesn't cover the strain that has killed kids. I am under the impression that a subsequent Staph infection is what is the culprit to the virus that is the initial infecting agent.

Both facilites are in rural Western Pennsylvania.

In the long term care facility when someone is showing signs of influenza the docs are treating aggressively. Zithromax seems to be the choice drug along with Robitussin for the unrelenting cough. Sputum culture and sensitivity and a chest x-ray. Z-Pac seems to give nausea to everyone in the long term care environment so that is why we have swabbed a few so far. So we can discontinue the Zithromax and the anti-emetics too. Of course these are also failure to thrive patients so the "not eating" due to nausea directed the further testing more than the symptoms.

The media should kick in some pennies for what we have to deal with.

LOL, just kidding


63 Posts

I certainly can identify with the frustrations of previous posters regarding the sudden influx of flu patients in the ED. On the one hand, I understand the fear that drives parents to bring their sick children to the ER; on the other, I wish that more people had the common sense to treat this illness at home with the knowledge of what symptoms indicate a need for medical attention. Unfortunately, many people have no clue about influenza and the news broadcasts are close to generating a mass hysteria. Therefore, unless the media can start focusing on how to treat influenza symptoms at home, we can expect excessive patient volumes as the flu season progresses.

In our small (10 emergent beds, 5 urgent care beds) rural ER, we are taking precautions with all patients who present with cough, fever, body aches, and other "flu-like" symptoms. We have set up a table at the triage office that has masks, hand sanitizer, kleenex, and individual waste bags. Each patient is asked to put on a mask, spray their hands, and take some Kleenex and a waste bag to keep with them during their ER stay. Of course, it is nearly impossible to get small children to wear a mask, so we are asking parents to try to keep the children in their laps until they are roomed. Hopefully, this practice will curtail the spread of the virus to other patients and ER staff. In addition, it makes the other patients who are presenting with non-flu related complaints feel more comfortable about spending time in the reception area with the flu patients.


210 Posts

It's ridiculous. And the media isn't helping. You would think people have never had the flu or a cold before. And you would think that no one ever heard of taking Tylenol or Advil for fever. We had so many people(otherwise healthy) come in to the ER this week, when they would be better off taking some Nyquil and going to bed. It's bullshit, this abuse of the ER. We had a girl come in on Thursday, discharged with ' viral syndrome " Well she came back Friday because she " still felt sick. The fast track doctor didn't rush to see her because she had seen her the night before for the exact same thing so the mother of this (grown) woman calls the main ER and caused a stink so they took the girl inside and put her in a bed and babied her. Guess what? She was discharged 2 hours later with the frigging flu. For crying out loud...people need to get a grip. I have had the flu many times and I know it sucks and you feel like you are dying but I would never consider going to the ER for it if I was a normal, young, healthy person. And they get so pissed when you don't give them antibiotics, no matter how much you inform them. All they are doing is making the legitimately sick people sicker by bringing all their flu germs to the ER. Then they complain about the wait. That's what they get for coming to the hospital for a virus instead of staying home in bed where they belong!:( :( :(:(


210 Posts

I noticed that the media failed to mention the circumstances under which these children died. Were they immunosuppressed already, did they have pre-existing conditions, etc? What were the complications that they died from? I don't know. My parents and grandparents, etc had no medical training and they never rushed their children to the ER at the first sign of fever or stuffy nose. They did the sponge bath, Tylenol, Motrin, etc. And although they were not educated people, they knew that in order to keep the fever down they had to KEEP giving the medicine. I certainly understand bringing the child to the ER for diarhea and vomiting, asthma, high fever that doesn't respond to tx, etc. But in my opinion, the " sore throat and stuffy noses" are overtaxing the emergency room. Whatever happened to good old fashioned chicken soup and common sense?:confused: :confused:


1,093 Posts

EXACTLY!!! a little common sense goes a long way - the media would much better serve the public having a nurse or doctor give advice - tylenol,motrin,fluids,stay home - as well as warning signs of what exactly should go to the ed.......instead they scare the common sense out of everyone...


299 Posts

it is very unfortunate that in our society so much of what is said on tv is taken as truth. if it is said on tv, it must be true right? some of what is said on tv is very useful information. the sad part is the public levels of understanding vary. there is a phd watching the same news cast as a 45 year old man who was a high school drop out. i know the news paper writes on an 8th grade level but i am not sure what grade level the tv news in at.

i am not trying to put any population down but you do have to ask yourself, how many of you patients regularly follow up with their pmd's (or the health dept or clinic if they are indigent), call their pmd with the onset of symptoms or are even compliant with their own chronic illnesses? maybe education is the issue. education from all spokes of the wheel.

so some warning comes on tv and the hysteria starts. i think there is a mix of the following:

1. (the biggie) the media presents what they think will get them better ratings and let's face it, saga sells!

2. there is a certain uneducated public who feeds on these news casts. if this were not true, then for every fire, shooting, drowning or major mvc there would be no "bystanders" to interview. you all know the ones that i am speaking of.

3. (the other biggie) the primary care doctors. when was the last time you can remember education (other than pamphlets in the waiting room) by your primary md?

there needs to be some solution. i think it is education for all.

well, maybe not all. the media could care less who is upset or over worked, as long as the ratings are up. but i think the pmd's should start taking some responsibility and educate thier patients.

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