Flu Season Causing Overcrowding in MD Emergency Rooms - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Widespread Flu Season Causes Overcrowding in MD Emergency Rooms

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 4:00 PM Updated:

BALTIMORE, Md. -- Officials with the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) says an increased number of patients with the flu this season is putting a strain on the state's emergency services. 

According to the Institute's EMS Medical Director, a significant number of patients are reporting flu-like symptoms to emergency departments across the state, which has put a significant stress on the EMS and hospital- based health care system. Representatives from EMS programs at fire departments, hospital emergency departments and local health departments have been monitoring patient volumes in their ER departments. MIEMSS says that the winter season usually brings increased activity to hospitals because it's the peak season for flu and respiratory illnesses. The state's health department has already reported widespread flu activity across Maryland. 

“Maryland’s emergency care providers are available when you need them,” said Public Health Services Deputy Secretary Dr. Howard Haft in a statement. “But please be sure there is a true emergency before calling 9-1-1.” 

The Centers for Disease Control recommends anyone who is very sick to seek help at an emergency room. Otherwise, those with mild symptoms can either see a primary care doctor, an urgent care center or they can treat the symptoms at home. They say this helps reduce the number of emergency calls and ER visits, but remind others that ER's will always be open and available to patients, even when ER's are overloaded. 

The Institute and Maryland Department of Health advise people to get the flu vaccine. They say that even though the vaccine may not be a complete match for the current flu viruses, getting the vaccine and staying home when sick are still the most effective means of reducing the risk of getting or spreading the flu. 

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