Rochester, N.Y. – Emergency rooms and physicians say they're seeing an increase in people with flu like symptoms.
Healthcare providers say this is the worst flu season they've seen in decades and many people who got a vaccination are still coming down with the flu.
“We've seen a lot of activity,” said Ann Marie Pettis, Director of Infectious Disease Prevention at Highland Hospital, “so a lot of people have been coming into the emergency departments. Quite a few of those people have been admitted into the hospital.”
Two-hundred and twenty-six people have been admitted to hospitals in Monroe County.
Highland Hospital offers precautions for people with flu symptoms right at the door, including a hand sanitizing area which is one of the most important prevention steps to take.
Unity Hospital in Greece is also seeing more patients with flu symptoms this season.
“It's been busy,” said Dr. Nayef El-Daher, Chief of Medical Specialties at Unity Hospital, “and it's been busy for the last few weeks.”
An overflow of patients in the emergency room has people waiting in the halls at Unity Hospital. People should avoid going to an emergency room unless they have another serious illness to complicate it.
“You should realistically stay home,” said Mathew Devine, DO at Highland Family Medicine, “if you have to go out you should be wearing a mask.”
Doctor Mathew Devine also recommends calling your primary care physician before visiting the office to assess if you need to go in.
“If you know it's really in the first day of symptoms there are anti-viral medications that can decrease the duration of the illness,” said Devine.
Healthcare providers also recommend getting a flu shot even though this year it's not preventing everyone from getting sick.
“Even when everything is going really well the flu vaccination is about 60% protective,” said Pettis, “but the good news is even if it's not fully protective it will definitely lessen you symptoms.”
There are things you should do to combat the flu and help prevent it from spreading. Wash your hands often, stay home if you have symptoms, especially if you have a fever, and don't forget it's not too late to get a flu shot.