Good Samaritan Health System is encouraging those who think they or loved ones have the flu to immediately seek medical attention with their primary care physician.
With the spread of influenza reaching epidemic proportions, it is critical that those at high risk for flu-related complications seek care immediately. This includes young children, the elderly and pregnant women.
“Persons at high-risk should seek immediate care if they suspect they have the flu. This includes small children, pregnant women, elderly people or people with compromised immune systems,” says Dr. Marc Bonin, medical director at The Good Samaritan Hospital emergency department. “The sooner we can prescribe anti-flu medications the less risk they have of developing complications such as dehydration or pneumonia. Those at high-risk can also still benefit from the vaccine if they have not yet received one, and should do so as soon as possible.”
For most people, the flu is not an emergency. The seasonal flu can be treated with acetaminophen, ibuprofen and fluids as well as rest at home. If symptoms warrant a visit to the doctor, plan first to visit your family doctor (find one online at www.gshleb.org).
In general, it is not a good idea to visit the emergency room for flu-like symptoms unless you feel your condition qualifies as an actual emergency, because visiting the emergency room puts you at risk for contracting other illness, and for spreading your flu with other patients, visitors or care givers.
You should seek emergency care if you meet any of these criteria:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent high fever
- Pain or pressure in chest
- Severe lethargy, sluggishness or difficulty communicating
- Blue or gray color to skin
- Persistent vomiting
To help stop the spread of seasonal flu please follow these recommendations:
- Wash your hands or use antibacterial lotion frequently.
- Get vaccinated. It’s not too late and this year’s vaccine is quite effective in preventing and/or protecting from current strains of the flu.
- If you have a cough, cough into your arm, not your hand.
- If you need to sneeze, sneeze either into your arm or into a tissue. Wash your hands before touching other surfaces or people.
- If you have flu symptoms, stay at home (for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone and you have stopped using antipyretics, such as acetaminophen, to reduce fever).
- If you have normal flu symptoms without severe complications, or if you are not in a high risk group, you are best served by your family doctor (not the emergency room).
- If you have normal flu symptoms without severe complications, please do not visit patients in the hospital because you put them at risk.
Where Can I Find More Information?
Visit the Good Samaritan Health System Web site for convenient links to these influenza information resources
For 122 years, the Good Samaritan Health System (www.gshleb.org) has served the health care needs of Lebanon County. The Good Samaritan Hospital is a modern, fully-equipped, fully-accredited 172-bed acute care facility that offers complete inpatient and outpatient care, as well as an inpatient rehabilitation program. The Good Samaritan Health System also provides services at many other sites located throughout Lebanon County.