Pennsylvania has had 22 flu-related deaths so far this season, according to data from the state’s Department of Health. Most of these deaths occurred among people older than 65, but the fatalities included two individuals younger than 50 who were otherwise healthy.
Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pennsylvania, set up a heated tent outside the hospital to serve as a clinic. Anyone with mild flu symptoms can be treated quickly and discharged, isolated from more serious cases. The hospital has been seeing an additional 80 to 100 patients with flu-like symptoms daily.
If you haven’t gotten an annual flu vaccine, it’s not too late, doctors say. To further protect yourself, try to avoid anyone who is sneezing and coughing, and wash your hands. Also, exercise and eat healthy foods, doctors say.
Doctors also say most flu patients should not go to an emergency room. They will likely be sent home, as there is very little that can be done for them. A fever as high as 103 degrees Fahrenheit is common in the flu.
Patients with normal flu symptoms should get a lot of rest and take painkillers to help with muscle aches.
But health experts warn that there are scenarios in which going to a hospital is necessary. If a patient is short of breath, or can’t keep fluids down because of nausea, these are signs of a problem that needs immediate attention, as vomiting or sweating from fever can lead to dehydration.