Health Commissioner offers guidance for visiting the ER for flu symptoms

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Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health:

Health Commissioner offers guidance for visiting the ER for flu symptoms

Due to an increase in the number of patients arriving at emergency departments with flu-like symptoms which don’t require immediate medical attention, the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health is offering guidance to help people decide if a trip to the hospital is necessary.

Symptoms of H1N1 influenza can include fever of more than 100°F, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. Some people are also experiencing diarrhea and vomiting. Those at highest risk for serious complications from the flu include children under age 5, pregnant women, adults 65 and older and people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or asthma. These people should contact their doctor or visit an urgent care clinic if flu symptoms develop.

“If you get sick with flu symptoms and you are in a high-risk group for complications or are concerned about your illness, call your health care provider for advice,” says Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan.

People who are not in the high-risk categories and who have only mild symptoms for which they would not ordinarily seek medical care do not need to do so. They should stay home and call a doctor if they have any questions.

People should visit an emergency room immediately if they experience any of the following symptoms:

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Vomiting for more than four hours
Fever in a child who is too quiet and less active than normal
Severe neck stiffness
Drowsiness, confusion, disorientation, or difficulty being roused
No urination for 12 hours
Fever in an infant under 3 months old (100.2°F or greater)

“We are asking everyone to please remember that emergency rooms need to be reserved for those with serious illness,” McMahan said.

For more information, go to or call 2-1-1.

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