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Seeing a lot of Flu symptoms, or is it just media hype..??

Has 15 years experience. Specializes in ER.

I think there's a lot of hype out there, generated by the media - the schools (I do sub school nursing also) have jumped on the band wagon, which I understand, because I don't want to take any chances with the health of my, or any other, children. I do think that these flu-like symptoms have been mild in the ER - most people feel like they have bad colds/coughs. Few have the need for nebs. Instead of implementing someone to put out the fires from the outset, like at the entrance to the ER, they let people spool out of control (where I work.) It's really silly and unnecessary. I don't know if it's just my perception, but it seems that the general public doesn't even want to take a moment and be logical about this illness and stay home while you're still drinking fluids. Keep yourself confined, control your fever, etc. IF it gets worse, call your doctor (assuming you have one), but don't come into the ER because you have a fever and body aches (and no respiratory issues). Please. I saw a news article of people lining up for the H1N1 vaccine - it's like a rock concert and trying to nab the best seats. It just seems more mild, to me, than the media is portraying all of this. Of course the stories of people that have died do not provide us with all of the details for the person that was ill. Many times these people have underlying conditions, which is then appropriate for those to seek care first for flu-like illness. It just seems like I spend so much time on basic care teaching for prevention of spreading germs/infection - to adults!!! :cool:

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN, EMT-P

Has 12 years experience. Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

We have seen a TON of flu. Our peds ED is being overrun, too, to the point where they are paying premium $$$ for RNs from other units to work 4-hours blocks. My last couple of shifts I also had two patients from two different nursing homes with Flu B (seasonal). Ugh. I think it's just a preview of the next few months ...

I work in a large pediatric hospital in the ER, and we are seeing a TON of H1N1. Most go home with your basic flu education, but some are being intubated and sent to the PICU. I have seen normally healthy children who come back a week later after being diagnosed with the H1N1 and they now have horrible pneumonia.

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

This has been my experience so far, too.

Busloads of people with mild to moderate URI s/s, many not even febrile. A few with underlying respiratory issues get a CXR. Kids whose parent have failed to give antipyretics get a dose and a script for Tamiflu - mostly everyone else just gets discharged with the common sense discharge instructions: rest, fluids, limit social contacts.

The waste of resources due to lack of common sense is mind-boggling.

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN, EMT-P

Has 12 years experience. Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

The waste of resources due to lack of common sense is mind-boggling.

Yep. But then we hear about how great it is for our census. WHATEVER. My inner tinfoil-hat-wearing person wonders if hospital PR people aren't stirring the pot to frighten the masses into the ED for flu tests. Ha.

Then on the other side of the spectrum, I had a patient from a nursing home who was sick for a week before being sent in ... she had flu, pneumonia, CHF, and sats of 87 on her little nasal cannula. Poor thing went to the ICU.

nuangel1, BSN, RN

Has 30 years experience. Specializes in CT ,ICU,CCU,Tele,ED,Hospice.

This has been my experience so far, too.

Busloads of people with mild to moderate URI s/s, many not even febrile. A few with underlying respiratory issues get a CXR. Kids whose parent have failed to give antipyretics get a dose and a script for Tamiflu - mostly everyone else just gets discharged with the common sense discharge instructions: rest, fluids, limit social contacts.

The waste of resources due to lack of common sense is mind-boggling.

this is what we are seeing as well extra 4o pts a day with flu or cold sx high fevers 103 to 105 .a couple really sick teens to 20 admitted with pneumonia both no helath probs before .several elderly with copd and pneumonia very sick in icu .confirmed h1ni but we are only testing admitted and pregnant pts.lots of tylenol motrin and tamiflu.

MassED, BSN, RN

Has 15 years experience. Specializes in ER.

interesting to see what's occurring in other areas. Thanks for the responses.

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

But then we hear about how great it is for our census. WHATEVER. My inner tinfoil-hat-wearing person wonders if hospital PR people aren't stirring the pot to frighten the masses into the ED for flu tests. Ha.

Oh yeah, I hear ya on that one.

I don't think we should be too quick to blame the influx of people on them "lacking common sense" or having to teach them the "basics". I have seen several media reports now that seem to TELL people to not take any chances, go to the Doctor/Hospital if you start to exhibit flu symptoms, don't wait as this is a fast progressing illness, etc. It's conflicting information. One day you see a report in your local newspaper of a perfectly healthy child dying from it in a matter of a week. That weekend you or your child starts to feel sick. In their minds it comes down to "am I going to take a chance?" Do you wait it out over the weekend to try to get in to see your Doctor? After all, if the ED's are swamped imagine what the Pediatrician's and Family Doctors are experiencing!

We are telling people, who aren't trained in the medical field, who don't have degrees, to assess and self-diagnose how serious or not serious their symptoms may be. Should they err on the side of caution? And on the flip side, can they afford in these economic times to miss that much work if it is the flu? They've all heard through the media that Tamiflu must be given within 48 hours.

I think it's just a large amount of information that we are expecting non-medical individuals to weigh and decide.

Edited by Loralai

MassED, BSN, RN

Has 15 years experience. Specializes in ER.

I don't think we should be too quick to blame the influx of people on them "lacking common sense" or having to teach them the "basics". I have seen several media reports now that seem to TELL people to not take any chances, go to the Doctor/Hospital if you start to exhibit flu symptoms, don't wait as this is a fast progressing illness, etc. It's conflicting information. One day you see a report in your local newspaper of a perfectly healthy child dying from it in a matter of a week. That weekend you or your child starts to feel sick. In their minds it comes down to "am I going to take a chance?" Do you wait it out over the weekend to try to get in to see your Doctor? After all, if the ED's are swamped imagine what the Pediatrician's and Family Doctors are experiencing!

We are telling people, who aren't trained in the medical field, who don't have degrees, to assess and self-diagnose how serious or not serious their symptoms may be. Should they err on the side of caution? And on the flip side, can they afford in these economic times to miss that much work if it is the flu? They've all heard through the media that Tamiflu must be given within 48 hours.

I think it's just a large amount of information that we are expecting non-medical individuals to weigh and decide.

that's kindof my point. Misinformation is out there - the media doesn't help. We're not getting all of the information from the news sources, so that adds to confusion. I definitely can understand as a parent - and we all know that common sense isn't really all that common, anyway. The media just doesn't help - my children's pediatrician told me that it's just insane in the office with visits and phonecalls - just out of control.

From where I am, so far, the influx of flu-like illness has been hyped up - there have been many patients checking in with flu-like symptoms, but turn out as another viral illness and they're discharged. I just see this getting worse over the winter, with regular seasonal flu.

I suppose I expect people to use common sense with their children, but that is expecting a lot, I have come to learn over the years. It doesn't take any kind of degree for common sense - keeping your sick child/adult out of the general population to present spread of infection/germs. This is easily understand by my kids, who are 10 and 6. They are teaching this in the schools. Just yesterday I got a recorded phone call that went out to all the families within the town I live. The phone call was from the Superintendent of schools stating "if your child is sick, has a fever, please keep them home, as we have had outbreaks of flu-like illness.... the phone call when on..." Again, I think this just fuels the fire. I know we all need information, but I just want accurate information, not from many different sources. It's a firestorm.

I just want the media to report what is actually occurring and to not report information that can be open to interpretation, since we all know that can swing any direction.

By the way, my eldest has a fever of 103 today, with a cough - started yesterday. He is better today, but yesterday complained of feeling "weak in the legs." I'm assuming it's a "flu-like illness" just because of his symptoms.... but he's drinking fluids, orange juice, vitamins, and I'm controlling his fever, and keeping him from others. Oh, and a few Xbox games to boot. He's a happy camper.

Edited by MassED

whichone'spink, BSN, RN

Has 3 years experience.

It seems that everyone and their mother is coming into the ED I work at with the slightest sign of "flu-like" symptoms. Lots of anxious parents bringing in their children.

Nevertheless, I don't doubt how serious this is. There is a story in the local newspaper today about a young woman in Canon City, with no underlying health conditions, now fighting for her life in the ICU at a hospital in Colorado Springs. I don't blame people for erring on the side of caution.

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN, EMT-P

Has 12 years experience. Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

Common sense is decidedly uncommon! ;) I don't blame any of the parents bringing their kids in -- the news is scary because they focus on these otherwise healthy kids who have died from the flu, or complications from the flu. But we're also seeing people who bring their kids in because they sneezed, or have a little sniffle -- no cough, no fever. One literally had 15 minutes (yes, minutes) of symptoms -- the mother brought her kid "straight over from Walmart!!!" with 15 minutes of sniffles. There is a lot of information out there for people to process, that's for sure.

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

Loralai, your point about media hype is a good one, and I think that was part of OP's post as well. The media noise needs to stop, but I'm not holding my breath for that to happen.

Apparently, when I wasn't looking, I suddenly got old enough to be nostalgic for the days when treatment of the mostly mild to moderate s/s we've discussed here was considered to be within the realm of common sense. ;)

Slightly OT, but I saw a TV ad for a retail pharmacy urgent care clinic yesterday -- the story line of the ad was a mom with a kid shown with various mild s/s - sore throat, cough, boo boo, etc. The repeating tag line was "Be Reassured." I just shook my head at the continued dumbing down and advertising saturation of our culture. Whatever you do -- don't trust your instincts with your kid's minor boo boo -- go to the clinic, either pay out of pocket or run up a bill for your insurance company (or both). Don't even think about just washing off the boo boo, giving your kid a hug and a popsicle and going on with the day! :smackingf

MassED, BSN, RN

Has 15 years experience. Specializes in ER.

Loralai, your point about media hype is a good one, and I think that was part of OP's post as well. The media noise needs to stop, but I'm not holding my breath for that to happen.

Apparently, when I wasn't looking, I suddenly got old enough to be nostalgic for the days when treatment of the mostly mild to moderate s/s we've discussed here was considered to be within the realm of common sense. ;)

Slightly OT, but I saw a TV ad for a retail pharmacy urgent care clinic yesterday -- the story line of the ad was a mom with a kid shown with various mild s/s - sore throat, cough, boo boo, etc. The repeating tag line was "Be Reassured." I just shook my head at the continued dumbing down and advertising saturation of our culture. Whatever you do -- don't trust your instincts with your kid's minor boo boo -- go to the clinic, either pay out of pocket or run up a bill for your insurance company (or both). Don't even think about just washing off the boo boo, giving your kid a hug and a popsicle and going on with the day! :smackingf

awesome. Thanks.

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN, EMT-P

Has 12 years experience. Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

Don't even think about just washing off the boo boo, giving your kid a hug and a popsicle and going on with the day!

And whatever you do, don't treat your kids' fevers, we in the ED don't trust your thermometer skills and want to SEE that 104 degrees! /sarcasm ;)

needsmore$

Specializes in emergency nursing-ENPC, CATN, CEN.

we're seeing 10-15 flu-like sxs/day--again mostly the peds, young adult crowd

if they meet the symptomology criteria, we're not even testing anymore--just 'assuming' it's flu

the high risk group get the nasal washings but in all honesty, i've heard that this test has a high false neg result, so, if the patient is high risk, they get tamiflu scripts

have you guys gotten the h1n1 flu shot yet? it hasn't been available here yet.

i have to add that i get frustrated at times at the amount of people who come in to get tested--they're not that sick, they have low grade fever, sl uri sxs. i know i shouldn't get frustrated because they're worried about flu, but the amount is just killing our ed.

any of your eds developed an off-site flu triage area to funnel the flu group out of your waiting room?

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN, EMT-P

Has 12 years experience. Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

Have you guys gotten the h1n1 flu shot yet? It hasn't been available here yet.

Our hospital system can't seem to get its act together to provide H1N1 vaccination -- and we are the "Tier 1" employees that they want to vaccinate first! They received only 200 doses of injectible vaccine, and 8000 of the LAIV nasal. The problem is that we can't work for a couple of days after having the LAIV, so they were holding off on giving it. Makes no sense -- there are a lot of people like me who work three days on, four days off. But I have yet to be vaccinated! My coworkers and I are wondering if it's worth it at this point, given our rates of exposure already. I did get my seasonal flu shot already, but not the H1N1.

Any of your EDs developed an off-site flu triage area to funnel the flu group out of your waiting room?

There has been talk of setting up a "flu tent" over at the peds ED, where they are being hit the hardest. I'm in a freestanding ED that is a distance away but part of the hospital system, and so far we're managing without doing a separate area for flu.

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

50-60 cases in ER daily in a 140 bed hospital seems like a lot of flu to me, regardless of media. Yet I still talk to people who think of it as "just the flu".

BabyLady, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU, Post-partum.

I think the CDC has failed miserably in educating the public in the differences between regular flu and H1N1.

Normally, I don't freak out when my child is sick...she recently fell ill on a Friday and as a precaution, I went ahead and took her to the Ped.

She knew I was a nurse and we talked about the H1N1 and I said, "How in the world can you diagnose it by symptoms if it's supposed to be the same?"

That is when she said, "Oh, the symptoms ARE NOT the same. H1N1 has a very, very high fever that goes on for days."

I said, "How high of a fever?"

She said, "104, 105 high".

I'm a nurse and I have NEVER heard this...but sure enough, she was right.

So why are they not telling this to the general public??????

Virgo_RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, ED.

The influx seems to have ebbed for the time being. I only had a few ILIs over the weekend. I'm sure it will pick up again when the seasonal flu starts to hit.

I think our local media has done a pretty good job of informing the public about the need to stay home unless symptoms are severe, but there will always be that certain population that brings their kid to the ED instead of Urgent Care for the slightest little owies.

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