INDIANAPOLIS -- Four people have died from the flu in Marion County as the season and the health department said the number of emergency visits for flu-like symptoms is the highest its been in several years.
Because of the increased flu activity, the number of patients seeking treatment in hospital emergency rooms has become a growing concern, according to the Marion County Health Department.
The percentage of ER visits in Marion County related to flu-like illness is the highest its been since the 2014-15 flu season.
To help lessen the demand being put on ER doctors and nurses, the Marion County Health Department is asking anyone experiencing mild flu-like symptoms to first contact their primary care physician or visit an urgent care facility or community health center so that emergency departments can focus on treating patients who are critically ill.
“It is so important for everyone to take steps to reduce the spread of flu,” said Marion County Public Health Department Director Virginia A. Caine, M.D. “This includes getting a flu shot, washing hands frequently, covering all coughs and sneezes, and staying home when feeling sick or experiencing flu-like symptoms.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a flu shot for everyone age 6 months and older. It’s not too late to get the vaccine.
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea.
Many hospitals across central Indiana have recently implemented temporary visitor restrictions to better protect patients, staff and other visitors.
These restrictions include:
- No visitors with symptoms of influenza.
- No visitors under the age of 18.
- Visitors limited to immediate family as identified by the patient.
Marion County hospitals participating in the temporary visitor restrictions include those within Community Health Network; Franciscan Health Indianapolis; St. Vincent; and Indiana University Health, including Riley Hospital for Children; as well Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Richard L. Roudebush V.A. Medical Center.
Visitors are encouraged to check a hospital’s website or call in advance about its restrictions and any exceptions.