Georgia has the highest rate of influenza; children are among the worst affected

Currently, emergency room wait instances in any respect Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta hospitals are greater than three hours, in accordance with the hospital system’s web site.

Georgia and Washington, D.C., are each reporting “excessive” flu exercise, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control’s flu exercise map. Flu exercise is at the moment low in most states of the nation.

“We have been very busy. Influenza, RSV and different respiratory viruses at the similar time. There shouldn’t be a lot COVID at the second,” mentioned Dr. Hugo Skornick, a Conyers pediatrician and former president of the Georgia chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “We have not had a flu season in the final two years as a result of of the masks and so forth. however I concern we will have a tough season this yr. All children 6 months of age and older ought to get a flu shot as quickly as potential to stop extreme instances of the flu.

in september Atlanta’s Scottish Rite Children’s Health Care has expanded its emergency room with a roof over the parking zone to accommodate a better quantity of sufferers.

Credit: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Credit: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

A spokeswoman for Children’s Health in Atlanta mentioned different well being techniques in the area are experiencing related affected person stress.

Influenza can happen year-round in the United States, however is most energetic in the winter. During the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals stayed house and wore masks, and flu exercise nearly disappeared. Fewer flu instances have made individuals immune, and many individuals, particularly younger children, haven’t developed immunity as a result of they haven’t been uncovered to fewer illnesses. Now, as COVID-19 precautions are eased, medical doctors are getting ready for an particularly tough time when it takes root. Another worrying indicator for the future: Australia is coming off its worst season in 5 years, in accordance with the nation’s Department of Health and Aged Care. The Southern Hemisphere is commonly the harbinger of influenza severity that the United States will expertise.

Respiratory sicknesses, together with the flu, are particularly harmful for individuals over 65, younger children, pregnant ladies, and folks with continual circumstances corresponding to coronary heart and lung illness.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, throughout the week ending in October, 4.9% of sufferers reported to medical doctors had flu-like sicknesses. 1, the most up-to-date week for which numbers are out there. There have been no flu-related deaths to date this season. Over the previous two years, the proportion of flu-related instances has dropped beneath 3.1%. The 2017-2018 flu season was one of the worst lately, with practically 150 deaths in Georgia and greater than 3,000 hospitalizations in metro Atlanta.

Dr. Joy Maxey, an Atlanta pediatrician, additionally mentioned RSV and different viruses are on the rise in her observe, and respiratory flu instances have spiked in the previous two weeks. She recommends mother and father redouble their efforts to get a flu shot, eat a very good eating regimen, get eight hours of high quality sleep every evening, and do good hand hygiene. For those that are sick, he mentioned, they need to keep house and look ahead to signs.

Skornik mentioned the most harmful signs for individuals with the flu are issue respiratory and excessive lethargy. The look of new rashes can also be related. “This is a motive to hunt instant medical consideration,” he mentioned.

Clayton County mum or dad Ebony Piron mentioned she and her injured son waited six hours at some point this week to see a physician at the emergency room at Hughes Spalding Children’s Health in Atlanta.

Piron mentioned the emergency room ready room was “overcrowded” with children experiencing fever and flu-like signs. When the two have been lastly introduced into the room, they have been instructed that there was no physician to see them. Piron mentioned he simply wished he had been instructed to go to a different hospital.

“As a mum or dad, it was terrifying to search out out your youngster was hospitalized [RSV],” Kristen Lawson, a mum or dad who not too long ago took her daughter to a Dacula emergency heart for therapy for the virus, mentioned in an AJC op-ed.

In an interview on the social media messenger, Lawson mentioned emergency medical doctors instructed her daughter to go to the nearest hospital, Scottish Rite, if her situation worsened.

“[The doctors] “We have been instructed to look out for the blue coloration round his mouth, which implies he isn’t getting sufficient oxygen,” Lawson mentioned. She mentioned she “instantly panicked” as a result of she lives in Winder, an hour away from the hospital.

Piron expressed related displeasure. The nearest children’s hospital is 30 to 35 minutes from the place she lives, relying on visitors, and he or she is aware of mother and father who should take day without work work to work longer than emergency room wait instances.

“Jobs do not care, they anticipate you to be there,” Piron mentioned. “It’s worrying.”

Piron’s son is in secure situation, however he plans to get him assist as quickly as potential. Although Lawson’s daughter prevented hospitalization, she wasn’t out of the woods but.

“There have been many sleepless nights attempting to watch him and ensure he was respiratory properly and mucus free. “It’s terrifying to know that this might take as much as two weeks,” Lawson wrote. “There’s nothing worse than seeing your youngster in ache and never having the ability to do a lot to make them really feel higher.”

Here are some tricks to keep protected throughout flu season

Be conscious of vaccines and boosters. Get your annual flu shot and your COVID-19 vaccine and booster (when relevant). According to the CDC, COVID vaccines could be given at the similar time as the annual flu shot.

To schedule a vaccine, go to

Stay house whenever you are sick. If you have to exit in public, put on a masks till signs enhance.

Cover your coughs and sneezes together with your fingers.

Wash fingers ceaselessly, particularly earlier than consuming and after coughing or sneezing.

SOURCE: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

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