Preparing for an Increase of Flu Patients

December 16, 2008 10:52:33 PM PST
With the chilly temperatures, emergency room doctors are preparing for the onslaught of cold and flu season.Emergency room doctors and nurses are busy with patients at Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia, and the chilly weather meteorologists are predicting this week isn't helping.

This week's cold temperatures bring with it the flu. Emergency room doctors are just hoping things don't get as bad as last winter.

Dr. Christian Herrera said, "Last winter was so bad they had to basically create more rooms in the parking lot because there was not enough space to see all the patients that came at once."

Last February Kaweah Delta Officials set up a large tent with extra beds to triage a surge of people who came into the ER with flu and viral- like symptoms. This December, doctors are already seeing their share of influenza patients.

"During the winter months with the cold weather there's a lot more people that are together, more people are Christmas shopping, the stores are full and you have a lot of closed space," said Dr. Herrera.

This man's wife has the flu.

Cary Kalfayan said, "I think she's catching something yesterday she wasn't feeling too well so I figure that her passing out had something to do with it. They figure it's probably the flu."

Medical officials strongly recommend getting a flu shot to take preventative measures. They're being offered at Kaweah Delta's Urgent Care Center. Still officials are prepared to set up the tent if they come across another flu crisis situation.

"This year we have more of a strategy in terms of how to deal with the influx. We're planning to make more space available throughout the hospital to move patients around so our ER is much more adequate for a large influx," said Dr. Herrera.

Officials say their biggest concern is for the elderly or small children, who can be more vulnerable to the flu.

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