Flu cases doubling every week in St. Louis area

Local emergency room doctors say they are getting hit hard right now by people coming in with the flu
Photo credit saravuth-photohut/iStock/Getty Images

Crowded emergency rooms as the number of flu cases continues to double every week in the St. Louis area. "We can't continue to see doubling, because already we're getting strained -- our capacity is pretty full with patients right now."

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The clinical director of the emergency department at Barnes Jewish Hospital, Washington University's Dr. Rob Poirier, says many mild to moderate flu cases can be handled in your doctor's office, a virtual visit, or at an urgent care or convenient care clinic. So when should you head to the ER? "If you start developing moderate to severe symptoms, so really high fevers and shortness of breath, you're having trouble breathing, you're getting very dehydrated in terms of you can't keep up with the fluid intake, and eating, and you feel really sick, then you need to come to the emergency department."

Those most at risk for severe complications from the flu include the elderly and patients with pre-existing conditions -- like asthma, COPD, bronchitis and respiratory illnesses.

"People are getting very sick from influenza, that if they had the vaccine, they probably wouldn't be," adds Poirier, "because not many people are vaccinated out there, it's starting to overload the emergency departments and the hospitals at the moment and wait times are definitely increased."

Dr. Poirier says don't wait any longer to get that flu shot, and get your covid booster as well.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: saravuth-photohut/iStock/Getty Images