Madison, WI –Some people with H1N1 symptoms may be risking an unnecessary emergency room bill and could put other patients and healthcare workers at risk by not following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for seeking emergency care. Rooms at all three hospitals have been filling up with people concerned about high fever, cough, chills, and other signs of influenza-like illness. Many are leaving the emergency room without a prescription for anything but chicken soup, rest and fluids.
That’s why Madison’s three largest hospitals have teamed up to let the community know that, at this point, normally healthy people with symptoms are no longer being tested for the H1N1 virus. For them, the doctor’s best advice is really what mom prescribes: rest, fluids and acetaminophen for the fever.
People in the following high risk groups should call their physician if they develop flu symptoms:
The CDC recommends emergency medical care for the following symptoms:
In addition, children with the following symptoms should seek emergency care:
In order to best protect their most vulnerable patients, Madison hospitals are asking anyone showing signs of sickness including fever, cough, nausea, chills, body aches, vomiting and diarrhea to please not visit their relative or friend in the hospital until 24 hours after symptoms subside. Flu is easiest spread when people are in close contact, and the highest risk groups tend to be those that are in the hospital.
- Trouble breathing or rapid breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Difficulty waking
- Flu-like symptoms that improve then return with a cough or fever.
UW Hospital has screeners, trained to recognize the signs of influenza-like symptoms and to assist visitors and patients entering the hospital. St. Mary’s and Meriter are asking visitors to their birthing units and intensive care units a series of screening questions to make sure they are not ill, and then providing them with a badge that changes daily. The hospitals will continue to monitor the spread of illness in the community and adjust these plans accordingly.