ER overrun with cold, flu

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In the past week, The Memorial Hospital's emergency room has been overrun with flu cases.

"Last weekend was very busy,"said Art Smith, registered nurse at TMH. "Within the last week, we've seen a big increase."

The emergency room was empty Friday morning as TMH operated with a skeleton crew. But Smith said that many children have been brought into the emergency room lately.

Many of these patients are only suffering common colds, often confused with the flu because the symptoms are similar.

Flu symptoms include high fever, head and muscle aches, and chills.

TMH verifies all potential flu cases with a nasal swab test. The results are known in about 45 minutes.

TMH could not provide a number of positive flu cases for Moffat County.

If a flu test is positive, the patient is prescribed medication and is directed to rest, drink plenty of fluids and monitor their symptoms.

If a flu victim catches the virus within the first one or two days of onset, there are several medications that will alleviate symptoms.

Relenza is a Diskhaler given by inhalation, suitable for children over the age of seven years.

Tamiflu is a capsule that can be used as flu treatment for children over one year old, and as a prevention treatment for anyone 13 years of age and older.

Symmetrel is an older medication that is only effective against Influenza type A. It can treat the flu for children older than 12 months.

Flu medication information is provided online by pediatrics.about.com.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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