Authorities at Saint Luke’s Health System told 41 Action News this influenza season has been one of the busiest they have found in years.
“We’re seeing large numbers of patients. The flu season has hit hard in the community,” said Jessica Pepper, area manager of Saint Luke’s Community Care Clinics.
Patients, for example, Mary Cecena wouldn’t normally observe the doctor for a common cold, however, with wide-spread influenza, patients are filling up waiting rooms over the metro.
“I’ve got nine little grandchildren that come in and out of my house and I don’t need to be passing around those kinds of germs to those little ones,” Cecena said.
Cecena told 41 Action News she was fortunate, getting in and out of the doctor’s office in under 60 minutes. Different patients have invested significantly more time waiting. Pepper said it relies upon the location and time of day.
“Sometimes, there could be up to 90 minutes to longer depending on how many people are waiting to be seen already,” Pepper said.
To stay away from long wait times, Saint Luke’s is going to technology.
“We have an app called Saint Luke’s 24/7 which allows you to have access from your couch, from the airport, from your work, if you can’t get away that day,” Dr. Marsha Weaver said.
Weaver said the application is geared towards patients with mild cases, yet can be utilized with patients who believe they have the flu.
“If you come into the office, we can perform a nasal swab and come up with a definitive diagnosis, but oftentimes it’s the clinical symptoms that will lead us to treatment,” Weaver said.
On the off chance that people need to feel preferable sooner rather than later, doctors recommend people focus on their symptoms.
“There is a medication for that and it has to be given within the first 48 hours. So, if you’re worried about the flu, you want to be seen quickly and get started on that medicine,” Pepper said.
If people have this season’s flu virus or have been sick recently, Pepper said people want to be fever-free for 48 hours before coming back to work or school.
Doctors state it’s not very late to get people’s influenza shots, as the influenza season could reach out into April.