The year’s flu season has been historically severe. All but two states – Hawaii and Oregon – continued to report pervasive flu activity. More than 40 states have reported unusually high flu activity. Tragically, the flu has claimed the lives of 165 children this year — and it’s far from over. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects this rampant flu activity to rage on for several more weeks.
Since October, more than 30,000 people have been hospitalized with flu-related illnesses. As in years past, the elderly and very young are the most susceptible to the virus. But the most sobering aspect of this flu season is the 9.8 percent mortality rate, well above the CDC’s epidemic threshold of 7.4 percent.
It hasn’t helped that this year’s flu vaccine has hardly been worth the effort. The latest CDC estimates peg this year’s vaccine as only 36 percent effective against the A and B strains of the virus. If a medical professional has misdiagnosed your condition, you should consider reaching out to a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
Emergency Room Advice
Katherine Lockler, a nurse from the Pensacola, Florida area, made headlines recently after going viral with a Facebook video rant about emergency room horror stories in light of this tragic flu season. Lockler describes seeing parents letting their infants crawl on the filthy floor, and a softball coach who brought his entire squad into the ER to visit a sick teammate.
“If you have a team member from your softball team who is sick or injured, you do not bring the entire softball team in to check on them. Because guess what?” Lockler explained. “You just got 15 new vectors, or carriers of the flu by them all walking in. Which I watched them all walk in last night, see their friend, and not touch the hand sanitizer. Not once!”
Lockler strongly urged viewers to stay away from the ER if they’re healthy.
If You’ve Been Exposed to the Flu
Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by multiple viruses and can come on much more quickly than a cold. According to the CDC, flu symptoms to watch for include:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills.
- Sore throat.
- Runny or stuffy nose.
- Muscle or body aches.
- Fatigue (tiredness).
- Some people might experience vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Complications can include pneumonia and bronchitis, as well as sinus and ear infections.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome M. Adams advises anyone who thinks they might have been exposed to the flu to keep a few things in mind:
- If you have symptoms of influenza, stay home to help prevent spreading it to others.
- To reduce spreading infections, frequently wash your hands and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Your doctor might prescribe antiviral medications, which work best when started early in the illness. If symptoms don’t improve, or worsen rapidly, seek medical attention immediately.
Flu season can be a frightening time of year, especially when you see news reports of this epidemic. If you’ve lost a loved one to the flu when it could have been easily prevented with a proper diagnosis and treatment, you could have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Get in touch with the Colorado malpractice attorneys at Burg Simpson in Denver at 303-792-5595 or complete our Free Case Evaluation Form so we can help.