VCU Medical Center opens flu treatment area

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA. (WWBT) - At the VCU Medical Center in the emergency room they normally see 40 to 50 children a day. Right now they are treating more than 100 children each and 9-year-old Nyell Cruz is the first to tell you...

"I'm feeling bad," said Nyell.

Her school called her mom this morning because Nyell had a 103 degree temperature.

"I went and picked up and said no she's coming to the emergency room. I couldn't get her into the doctor early enough. That's just not something you want to play with, with children. I'm not going to take that type of risk at all," said Nalinya Harris, Nyell's mom.

And like most children coming into VCU Medical Center's emergency room these days, Nyell has the swine flu.

"We have on some days more than doubled our volume," said Dr. Robin Foster.

Dr. Foster is the head of pediatric emergency services. She says most swine flu patients don't need to end up in the emergency room.

"If your two years of age or older and have no other medical problems and the child is doing well with Motrin and fluids, you would not necessarily have to be seen by a physician," said Dr. Foster.

But with doctor's offices overwhelmed the emergency room is where a lot of parents are taking their children. Thirty percent of patients in VCU's ER this weekend had flu like symptoms. Which is why VCU's emergency department opened a new flu treatment area today.

"Right now they're mixing together in the waiting room our goal was to minimize that by creating a totally different, separate area where people with flu like symptoms will be separated completely," said Michael Gonzalez, Director of VCU Emergency Services.

They cleared out a lock room and training area and created a flu wait room. The area used to be an observation place, but they've taken out the beds and put in chairs because the patients aren't sick enough where they need to lay down.

"The vast majority of the people we're seeing there's nothing other than home remedies. Over the counter medications that we can provide for them," said Gonzalez.

Before you go straight to the emergency room if you're not feeling well, Doctors here say to call the health department or your physician to see if you actually do need to seek medical treatment.

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