How to know when its time to go to the hospital during flu season

Bad flu season in Pueblo County

PUEBLO, Colo. - Hospitals in Pueblo County are being inundated with patients this flu season but not everyone needs to be there.

The Health Department is stressing the importance of knowing when it's actually appropriate to go to the hospital.

"Most patients with influenza can be treated at home. Patients should only come to the emergency room if they are experiencing emergency warning signs of flu sickness," said Dr. Tom Greidanus of Southern Colorado Emergency Medical Associates and an ER physician at Parkview Medical Center. "We have been sending home the majority of patients with influenza because they are mildly ill. Of those patients admitted with influenza, many are critically ill, and in an intensive care unit in isolation for influenza with some on ventilators."

It says symptoms warranting a visit to the hospital include:

  • Having trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin 
  • Fever with a rash
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen 
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

The Health Department says milder cases do not require emergency care and going to a hospital emergency department runs the risk of infecting others.

Lynn Procell, division director at the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment, said, "When you experience symptoms of the flu, stay home until 24 hours after your fever is gone without the help of fever-reducing medicines," encouraged Procell.

So far, the flu has hospitalized 119 people in Pueblo this flu season. Experts say we are on track for a record-setting flu year. 

Flu Season- Hospitalized Flu Cases in Pueblo
2017-2018: 119 (as of January 10, 2018)
2016-2017: 173
2015-2016: 72
2014-2015: 145
2013-2014: 75
2012-2013: 32

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