Health officials on Tuesday warned Kansas City about a spike in early flu cases that has already resulted in two deaths and caused crowding for hospital emergency rooms across the metro area.
University of Kansas Hospital reported admitting 36 flu patients.
“I’ve been here eight years and I’ve never it seen it at this level,” Lee A. Norman, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said Tuesday at a press conference. “That’s a pretty high number. I don’t remember 10.
“Clinics and urgent-care centers are glutted.”
Of 28 hospitals in the metro area, 10 were on diversion, meaning they had reached a maximum number of patients because of the flu outbreak, he said.
Health officials strongly emphasized the value of a flu shot. People who get the vaccine can still get the flu, but symptoms should be less severe.
Particularly troubling symptoms in adults include trouble breathing, chest pain, sudden dizziness, confusion and persistent vomiting.
In children: fast breathing, bluish skin color, not drinking enough fluids, not waking up, irritability and fever with rash.
As the New Year’s holiday approaches, Larry Franken, chief epidemiologist at the Wyandotte County Public Health Department encouraged people with flu-like symptoms to stay home.
“Not just for themselves, but for their family and friends,” Franken said.
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