Flu season leaves hospitals full

Flu season leaves hospitals full

Posted: Updated:
LUBBOCK, Texas -

With flu season in full bloom, hospitals in our area are filling up. Doctor Michael Chamales said he started seeing an increase in patients right before Christmas, but does not expect that number to go down anytime soon. 

"I highly suspect with LISD going back to school, we'll see another big bump as the kids get around each other," Chamales said. "You know right now, everyone's been isolated at their homes." 

He said it is not uncommon for E-R's to face long wait times, especially during the peak of flu season.

"The more patients that are here, the longer the waits going to be," Chamales said. "Then what happens is, as we start seeing more sick people, the hospital gets filled up and it's sort of creates a backlog so to speak." 

Even with a backlog, Chamales said if you are sick, you will be treated.

"With our triage system, if you are sick, we will get you back," Chamales said. "We will make room for you and we will take care of you, sometimes in alternative places, sometimes we have to put beds in the halls, sometimes we see patients in chairs, but if they need to come back we will take care of them." 

Covenant's now pulling double duty, receiving patients that have been diverted from University Medical Center.

"You know when one of our major hospitals gets completely filled up, and their emergency department gets completely filled up, they go in whats called diversion," Chamales said. "They'll divert patients from their hospital, they'll block ambulance traffic, and block usually transfers from other facilities as well." 

Not all flu victims need to go to the E-R.

"Kids under the age of 18 months, certainly under the age of one year can get very sick from the flu," Chamales said. "People over 65, anyone who has chronic medical issues, that can be very very dangerous when they have the flu." 

Chamales said if you are young and healthy, It is cheaper and faster to go into an urgent care clinic. He said if you do not want to make the trip, you can always ride it out.

"The big thing is fever control, Tylenol, Motrin, and you know Aleve," Chamales said. "I believe those things will help with the muscle aches, help with the fever, because generally what makes people feel so bad is the fever." 

If you catch the flu, stay home. You will be contagious until you go at least 24 hours without a fever.

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