Local hospitals packed with flu patients - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Local hospitals packed with flu patients

(WMC-TV) - Officials at LeBonheur Children's Hospital say weekdays are normally a pretty quiet time because kids are at school.  But lately, their emergency room has been packed with patients with symptoms of the flu.

Health experts say the flu will only get worse.

"He's pretty weak right now.  Not anywhere near himself. He's really fatigued, lots of coughing, quite a lot of vomiting, really uncomfortable," said Sara Copacko.

Copacko was at the children's hospital with her 4-year-old son since Monday.  She is hoping her 1-year-old does not get sick, too.

"We try to keep them as secluded as possible but you can only do so much," she said.

Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi have widespread reports of the illness.

"This is a different strain this year so it does affect children a little more...they have been a little sicker and it's affected our babies a little more," explained Dr. Barry Gilmore, LeBonheur's ER Medical Director.

LeBonheur is seeing around 100 more patients each day, most of whom are suffering with the flu.

Even though many clinics have run out, doctors say it is not too late to get the flu shot.

"For folks who get that, they're fairly well protected with that. You can have other illnesses that are flu like that give you similar symptoms even though you may not have the flu," said Dr. Gilmore.

Doctors say this year's flu epidemic has been much worse because it started much earlier, before Thanksgiving.

They say it will probably last until March or early April.

If you are feeling flu like symptoms like body aches, fever, or nausea, officials at LeBonheur say go to your doctor immediately or visit your local emergency room.

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