BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Local emergency rooms have been busier because of one of the worst flu seasons in years.
But even though ERs have been 10 percent to 30 percent busier than usual, Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein says there is no outbreak in western New York.
"Our hospital emergency departments are so overwhelmed right now, not just with influenza but with stomach bugs and other types of illnesses and they just really are overwhelmed," Dr. Burstein said.
Dr. Burstein suggests that if you think you have the flu, try to avoid going to the emergency room unless symptoms are severe. In most cases the virus simply needs to run its course of almost a week.
ECMC Chief of Emergency Dr. Michael Manka said, "If you're otherwise healthy and you have a fever, flu-like symptoms like sore throat, runny nose, even the GI symptoms with nausea, vomiting, as long as you're not getting shortness of breathe and you're able to keep some fluids down, you can stay at home and ride this out."
Dr. Burstein added, "And anybody who has the flu should expect to be sick for a week. You're going to be in bed for a week."
And it is not too late to get a flu shot. Flu season often runs through April. This year's vaccine is also equipped to fight two new strains of the virus.
NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah said, "As of January 5, the State Health Department received reports of over 2,800 patients hospitalized for confirmed influenza, compared to 1,160 for all of last year. I want to stress that it's imperative and essential for those who have not had a flu shot, it's not too late. The right time to get the flu shot is before you get the flu."
As of right now, there have been no documented flu deaths in western New York. You can find more information about the flu from the NYS Department of Health.
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