Flu And Other Type Illnesses Filling The Emergency Room - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Flu And Other Type Illnesses Filling The Emergency Room

Already this month, four school districts have closed schools because of the flu, or stomach illnesses.  Another school has been added to that list, Brownsboro ISD. Brownsboro schools will be closed Wednesday, Thursday and Friday because of students and faculty with flu- like symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control says every year the flu causes more than 100,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths.  East Texas hospitals are seeing an increase of patients in the emergency rooms because of several illnesses.

"We have seen a lot of virus, respiratory infections, bronchitis, strep throat and we are seeing mostly influenza," says John Moore, Public Information Officer, Trinity Mother Frances Health System.

"We have had a tremendous surge of upper respiratory and flu like symptoms for 12 to 15 weeks," says Kate Bynum, Registered Nurse, UT Health Center Tyler.

"This time of year you are seeing a lot more of the colds, coughs, pneumonia," says Jim Parisi, Vice President of Trauma, ETMC.

The flu and other seasonal illnesses are causing the emergency rooms to stay busy with several non emergencies.

"We do have about a 30% increase because of the season. The wait time for non emergency are about 2 hours," says Bynum.

"This time of year if you go to the emergency room and it is not a true emergency you could wait for hours for treatment," says Moore.

Beside the wait time increased for non emergencies. The cost of care in the ER is the most expensive, that's why some hospitals have alternative centers.

"It is better to go to our TMFHS Direct Care Center on South Broadway. You don't need an appointment and the wait should be less.  Direct Care was put in to elevate the number of patient who were seeking treatment for minor problems in the emergency room," says Moore.

"ETMC South Broadway is a good place to go where you typically don't see a lot of EMS traffic down there. The type of patients that we treat are the ones that we can get through there much more rapid turn around time," says Parisi.

An easier option may sound obvious but health experts say call your local doctor.  You may get in faster than waiting in the emergency room.  But, if you are having chest pain, or more serious symptoms, go to the ER immediately.

We did visit with Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview, and they say they have seen an increase of patients in the ER with respiratory problems. Officials say the wait in the ER changes hour by hour but could be up to two and a half hours.  

Karolyn Davis, reporting.  kdavis@kltv.com


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