Northwest Texas Healthcare System sees elevated number of flu related ER visits

VIDEO: Northwest Texas Healthcare System sees elevated number of flu related ER visits

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - For the past two months, Northwest Texas Healthcare System in Amarillo has seen an elevated number of ER visits from those suffering from the flu.

Since Dec. 1, the two freestanding and main emergency rooms at Northwest have seen a total of 6,000 patients with 2,000 having the flu.

Northwest’s Medical Director of Freestanding Emergency Rooms, Dr. Fred Poage, said the ER facilities are seeing activity from flu types A and B.

The Amarillo Department of Public Health’s flu surveillance report has shown, as of Feb. 1, Amarillo has seen more than 4,200 cases of both flu types.

“That is a lot,” said Dr. Poage. “Last year, we saw a little less than we’re seeing now so we did see an increase this year. The flu season last year was especially difficult but it was grouped towards the end of January, beginning of February. This year, I think we saw the bulk of it in December and January and now we’re not seeing the same spike that we were last year.”

In some cases, Dr. Poage said the flu can be life-threatening and it’s important to know how to recognize signs of a flu emergency.

Signs that the flu requires emergency care for adults include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or abdominal pain
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that appear to get better, but then return with a fever and worse cough
  • Swelling in the mouth or throat

In children, emergency symptoms include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with a fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

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