Children's hospital uses tent to handle influx of flu patients

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The fight against the swine flu has forced a Memphis children's hospital to temporarily expand outdoors.

On Saturday, Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center began screening patients with flu-like symptoms in a huge tent set up outside the hospital.

This time of year, doctors at Le Bonheur normally see 160 to 180 children with flu-like symptoms daily. The hospital is currently seeing about 350 a day.

"We're seeing a lot of people coming to the ER who are sick, but not emergencies," Dr. William May said.

Children ages fiver or older who are experiencing flu-like symptoms will be screened and treated inside the tent. Children under age five and those with underlying health conditions will go straight to the emergency room.

"These are kids who we think are at high risk," May said.

Meanwhile, doctors say preventing the spread of the virus is key. They're urging parents to stay calm and take the necessary precautions.

"Hand washing...older kids can be reminded to cover their face when they cough," said May.

Once children return home, hospital staff will be on hand to call their parents within 24 to 48 hours to check on them.

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