The Monroe County Health Department said from mid-October to the end of December, there have been more than 900 confirmed cases of the flu in our area. The flu does not have to be reported to the Health Department, so health officials estimate there are many, many more cases than that. Some of those are ending up in hospital emergency rooms, along with all patients who are sick with other viruses going around.
"This year, everything is hitting us kind of at once."
Dr. Bryan Gargano said it has been a busy last few weeks for doctors, nurses, and staff at Rochester General Hospital's Emergency Department. All their beds are filled and many with patients suffering from the symptoms of some kind of flu.
"The flu hit hard and fast in Rochester this year and I think they're still trying to figure out why that is," explained Dr. Gargano.
The Monroe County Health Department said of the 913 reported cases of the flu in our area since Mid-October, almost half were reported during the week before Christmas. This year, like never before, along with all those flu cases doctors are seeing patients with RSV – a virus that attacks the lungs – and others still with a stomach bug that makes people vomit an average of three to four days straight.
"If you're otherwise healthy with a fever, chills, muscle aches and you're able to eat and drink, and you're able to stay well hydrated, stay at home," said Dr. Gargano. "We're seeing the patients who are very young, the babies less than two years old and are having respiratory distress and need to be here. And we're seeing a lot of our older patients."
There are so many sick people coming into Rochester General's Emergency Department that starting Thursday, Gargano said they're limiting the number of visitors who can come in with their sick family members or friends.
Dr. Gargano says if you're sick, don't go to work or school and get others sick. It's also not too late to get a flu shot. And above all else, keep washing your hands.
"This is stuff we can prevent by good basic hand hygiene."
For more information about the flu and where you can get the flu vaccine, click here.