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Tennessee - Patients with flu-like symptoms overwhelm ERs

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  • Tennessee - Patients with flu-like symptoms overwhelm ERs

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    <TABLE align=center><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top align=middle>Local ERs see increased patients with flu-like symptoms

    1:49</TD><TD vAlign=top align=middle></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

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    <SCRIPT type=text/javascript> if (window.WNColumnManager) WNColumnManager.add('WNStoryRelatedBox', {collapsible : true, heightAdjustable : false});</SCRIPT><!--END WNStoryRelatedBox-->NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The number of patients going to emergency rooms with flu-like symptoms is skyrocketing in Nashville and surrounding communities.
    At Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center, doctors report a 50% to 75% increase in the number of patients over the normal average.
    The problem, according to Dr. Thomas Abramo, chief of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, more and more people, scared about the H1N1 flu virus, are heading straight to the ER before consulting their primary caregiver first.
    "The first thing I would do is give Motrin, Tylenol, supportive care, and then call your healthcare provider and let them screen out whether you need to come to the emergency room verses not," he explained.
    Dr. Abramo, however, says there are certain, at-risk groups who should seek emergency care and points to guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    Young children, with chronic conditions like diabetes or asthma, for example, are more susceptive to complications with the flu.
    Nashville mom Socorro Ramirez brought her middle child Roberto to the ER at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital Wednesday.
    He has asthma and his one year-old and seven-year-old siblings both tested positive for the flu.
    Dr. Abramo says whether it's seasonal flu or H1N1, its keeping healthcare workers busy.
    "Your resources are spread through more needs and assessments that have to be done so efficiency can be somewhat taxed," he said.
    Angie Atema, child life specialist at Vanderbilt told News 2 they're running low on supplies and snacks for patients staying at the hospital and just trying to keep up with demand.

    More donations are needed and with the flu season just beginning, experts predict it will get worse before it gets better.
    Read more about the H1N1 flu at or on the Metro Public Health Department's Web site. Questions can be directed to the health department at 615-340-7775.