Emergency rooms inundated; doctors ask the public to help ease patient load

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Saturday, December 17, 2022
Emergency rooms inundated; doctors ask the public to help ease patient load
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From RSV to flu cases, local hospitals are seeing hundreds of patients per day, and they are asking the public not to go to the emergency room unless they absolutely have to.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- From RSV to flu cases, local hospitals are seeing hundreds of patients per day, and they are asking the public not to go to the emergency room unless they absolutely have to.

Doctors say depending on the illness symptoms will vary, but there are certain symptoms that should not be overlooked.

Community Regional Medical Center is seeing over 350 patients per day, and that doesn't exclude children. Emergency physicians are now asking for the community's help to help ease the load on their employees.

"Somewhere between 350 and 400 patients a day, which is far greater than our normal average time that we see during the flu season," explained Dr. Jeffrey Thomas, Chief Medical and Quality officer of Community Regional Medical Center.

Adding to the strain at CRMC, 260 employees have been recently quarantined due to Covid -- making it harder to keep up with non-stop arrivals.

"If you're having a cough, congestion, runny nose or even fever, we ask that you do your best to get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and, take over the counter medications to control your symptoms and if that doesn't work see your doctor or an urgent care first," said Dr. Hagop Afarian, Emergency Physician with CRMC.

Across the country, states like Washington, Texas, and Arizona are seeing a rare uptick in Strep A cases, with two children dying from the illness in Colorado.

Local doctors say symptoms of strep throat can be similar to other illnesses.

"If you find out that you are negative for Covid and negative for influenza and you're still feeling really crummy, then that really is the step to take to make sure you are not dealing with a bacterial infection." said Dr. Rais Vohra, with Fresno County Department of Public Health

"Right now, there is quite a bit of fear about what that actually means, whether it's strep, whether it's influenza Covid or RSV. A very high percentage of patients actually do quite well with symptomatic treatment at home," added Dr. Thomas.

And when it comes to children's medicine, which is becoming harder to find, doctors say the department of public health will provide resources on where you can find it. They advise against some alternative remedies.

"Adult medications are not necessarily indicated for children, although there might be some medications that are the same, the doses are often drastically different, and the last thing you want to do is give a higher dose than necessary," said Dr. Thomas.

Doctors say the two symptoms to look out for are trouble breathing and severe chest pain, that is when you should seek emergency attention.