Transcript for Flu Cases Increase in American Hospitals
we are all anxious about every sneeze, every cough, every door handle as we confront an outbreak of flu coast to coast in this country. And it's not just the flu. Another virus is on the move. I want to show you pictures that say everything. Patients wearing masks. And also doctors wearing masks. Abc's linsey davis spent the day at the hospital with the doctors on the front lines. Reporter: All day long, dr. Ron wall is rushing down the hall. A squirt of hand sanitizer, and he's off to battle for flu. It's going to take you probably two or three weeks to feel really good again. Reporter: Dr. Wall is wearing a face mask because h can't afford to be sick. Not now, with this hospital like many in hospital overrun with flu cases. This patient has been battling the flew for the flu for ten days now. Coughing a lot? What are you bringing one the cough? Reporter: While we were there, the cases mounted. So much so, the hospital sounded an all hands on deck, code amber alert. Basically a disaster notification that we use when we have a large number of things to deal w thanks. Reporter: At holy name hospital in new jersey, dr. Randy tartakoff is battling against the tide. We are all a little overwhelmed, not only the practitioners, but the care givers in general. Reporter: Numbers are so great, this doctor isn't even administering flu tests. He's handing out treatment. A lot of what we do is simple supportive care. Making them feel better. Reporter: The most you haver in shl patients, children and the elderly. But this flu can also have deadly consequences for healthy adults. Strong immune systems can sometimes overreact and destroy healthy tish shups along with the flu itself. And this year, there's a double threat. Not only is flu rampant, so is a nasty stomach bug called the norovirus, now widespread throughout the country. It is also very contagious and although serious concern for hospitals. A perfect storm of sickness, which is why today, 45,000 bostonians got an out matted call from the city. Residents who have not already been vax nated from inthrew when sa this year are urged to. Reporter: Dr. Wall, for one, is hoping people listen. He knows better than anyone flu season hasn't hit its peak yet. So far, this hospital has treated 280 confirmed flu cases. In all of last year, they just had 63. But this is another hospital where doctors say they are beyond the point of testing patients. Their focus now is simply treating them. Diane? Thank you linsey davis. I want to bring in abc's chief medical editor dr. Richard besser. So, rich, should everybody be going to the e.R. When they feel sick? Absolutely not. If you are handling the flu well, you don't need to rush to the e.R. Or your doctor's office. They are going to keep you waiting a long time and while you're waiting there, you could get sick with another virus. So, give them a call and they can handle it that way. And who should go? What kind of symptoms? You need to watch for the signs. If you have any difficulty breathing, any shortness of breath. Any, you may have chest pain, that could be pneumonia. Sudden dizziness or confusion mean you are getting dehydrated. If you are getting better and you start to get worse, that could mean you have a bacterial infection on top and you need to be seen right away. You didn't mention fever. It depends on what goes with fever. Fever by itself, don't worry about it. Any of those other things, get seen right away. Thank you, richard besser
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