Valley Children's Hospital seeing record-breaking number of patients

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Valley Children's Hospital in Madera is seeing a record breaking number of visits to the emergency room. (KFSN)

Medical experts are calling it a flu epidemic and Valley Children's Hospital in Madera is seeing a record-breaking number of visits to the emergency room as cases continue to surge.

"It's real, it's out there. We definitely don't want to make things worse. We want to make sure people are getting the right message. It can be serious," said Emergency Dept. Medical Director Dr. Geetanjali Srivastava.

On Monday, the emergency room broke their record after seeing 511 patients, then on Tuesday, they broke it again after seeing more than 530 patients.

Since October of last year, the hospital has had more than 700 confirmed flu cases.

Doctors say if they are seeing kids who look like they have the flu, they are treating them for it.

"They have the symptoms. I treat them presumptively. We definitely do testing for children with chronic medical problems," said Dr. Srivastava.

The Madera County Department of Public Health has only one confirmed case of severe flu, but luckily, no flu-related deaths yet.

They are urging both parents and kids to use common practices to avoid spreading the virus.

"Covering your cough, washing your hands frequently, and staying away from people who are sick," said Melody Keller.

Doctors recommend parents get flu shots while avoiding going to public places with babies four months and younger.

"I would not go to a mall if you need to go to the grocery store, see if someone can watch your baby. Limiting exposure is really helpful," said Dr. Srivastava.

Parents should keep an eye on their child's symptoms. Doctors recommend seeking care if their child is not drinking fluids, interacting with others, or if their breathing is labored.

They also stress that visiting the emergency room when you are not sick could make you more susceptible to getting the flu, and to call your pediatrician for minor flu symptoms.
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