FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Area emergency rooms are crowded. This year's flu is only making it worse, and doctors want you to know when to come to the ER for the flu.
“The flu has made every part of healthcare busier. I think that that walk-in clinics are busier, the emergency department is busier,” said Dr. Tom Gutwein, the Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Parkview Regional Medical Center.
Dr. Gutwein has noticed an increase in the number of flu patients seen in the ER this winter and people have seen the full ER’s in other parts of the state as well.
“You can’t even get in there," says one local resident. "They’re full of sick people.”
But when should you go to the ER for the flu?
“If you are experiencing a lot of difficulty with your breathing--[or] obviously a lot of chest pain, or anything like that maybe accompanying with your difficulty breathing, then you probably need to go to the emergency department,” says Gutwein.
Other symptoms like vomiting to the point where you’re dizzy or you have passing out are signs you should go to the ER.
Dr. Deborah McMahan of the Allen County Health Department says one simple way to potentially decrease your chance of having to go to the ER because of the flu is to get your flu shot.
“Influenza is a serious, systemic and it will knock you flat," says McMahan. "It’s not a joke, people need to be immunized.”
Some hospitals also have the option to teleconnect with a doctor through video if you feel like you need to stay home or going to a different physicians will help you get seen faster.
“The more that people can be taken care of at the walk-in clinics, [or] at their family doctors if they don’t need to come to the hospital or don’t need to come to the emergency department, then that’s great,” says Gutwein.
So, if you have the flu, you may not always need to go to the ER for treatment because it could increase the wait time.