LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Emergency rooms are filling up as the flu season reaches its peak.
Dignity Health California’s Director of Infectious Disease Dr. Suman Radhakrishna has been busy with sick patients suffering from the flu.
“All of a sudden it stepped up in the last ten days, just about every other patient in the ICU now is diagnosed with Influenza A or B,” she said.
Radhakrishna said that as flu season begins to peak, doctors have found that this year’s vaccine covers most of the A strains, but just 50 to 60 percent of one type of the B strain that is making people sick.
“Until recently, Tamiflu was the only prescription I was giving. There is another mediation called Baloxavir, which is a single dose, one time,” she said. “All of these medicines work if they’re taken within 72 hours of the onset of symptoms.”
The symptoms can make people feel miserable, but Dr. Radhakrishna said some people who are going to see the doctor don’t actually have the flu.
“This is the season when upper respiratory infections are prevalent and all the other viruses are starting to rise,” she said. “When you test people and it’s negative for the flu, no treatment is given other than fluids and hydration.”
Dr. Radhakrishna advises that if you have flu symptoms, call a doctor and if you can’t get out of bed and are dehydrated, go to the emergency room.
“The ICU’s are full,” she said. “We realized that just about every one of them who is so sick to be in the hospital has not been vaccinated. It doesn’t mean the vaccine is protective 100 percent, but it does give you some coverage and I think everyone should get vaccinated.”
According to doctors, young children, pregnant women, people with heart disease and anyone with compromised health should get a flu shot and that it is not too late.