Increasing Flu Cases: Best Measures to Ensure Your Family's Health

Linsey Davis, Dr. Jen Ashton report the latest information on early flu season.
3:38 | 01/09/13

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Transcript for Increasing Flu Cases: Best Measures to Ensure Your Family's Health
The flu sweeping the country has hospitals reeling and searching for new ways to cope with the flood of patients. Emergency rooms overwhelmed. One hospital putting up tents. At another, doctors have been ordered to wear masks. And one major american city has declared this a public health emergency. Abc's linsey davis is on the front lines for us tonight. Reporter: In boston today, the major sounded the alarm. Today I am declaring a public health emergency in the city of boston. Reporter: At mass general hospital, there are now 24-hour waits to be admitted. And when you do get in, doctors and nurses will be wearing protective masks. What's really been a problem is the increase in volume. We are seeing unpress dancedented volume. Reporter: It's not just boston. One pennsylvania hospital is so inundated with the flu, they've set up a special tent outside the emergency room to deal with those patients. And in minnesota, where they've already had almost 1,000 confirmed cases of the flu, they're trying everything to stop the spread. Please, we employ you to stay home when you are sick. Reporter: For up to five days, you may be infected and contagious without a single symptom. On day one of your symptoms, the very first sign, your fever will spike, as high at 104, even 106 degrees. Severe headache and muscle pains, too. I was feeling dizzy still and I couldn't breathe even more, like, my face was all sweaty. Reporter: By day three, add on a sore throat, stuffy nose and dry call. This happens to be three day for lawrence. I feel weak. I never before hit by a mac truck, but I feel like this is -- this is it. Reporter: By day seven, you're likely no longer contagious, but symptoms can persist, especially fatigue and coughing. Both can last for weeks. Yes, weeks. That's where things stand at the petrocelli house, somewhering their second week of sickness, despite their 9 and 12-year-old daughters getting flu shots. We are into the upper respiratory now. It feels like every day it's just getting worse. Reporter: There is a crowd inside the emergency room here at st. Luke's tonight. The hospital calling the flu outbreak here severe. About 20% to 25% of the patients inside the e.R. Tonight all have flu symptoms. And flu isn't expected to hit its peak until the end of the month. Diane? We really feel for all of you who sent us those videos. I want to bring in dr. Jen ashton. Jen, what should people do at home if they think they're feeling the first symptoms? If someone in your household is sick, the first thing is, starting anti-viral medication. If someone in the house has a known or suspected case of the flu, probably a good idea to start tamiflu. But again, not nor the common cold. Second thing, you want to make a sick room. This is pretty much like isolation, as we do in the hospital. This person should not be sleeping or eating with others. Remember, the flu virus can be transmitted up to six feet away. You really want to keep that person separate. And lastly, disinfect. Wipe off those surfaces and, guess what, diane? The flu virus really does not like humidity and sunlight. So, you want to open up the blinds, boost the humidity, turn up the temperature. Research has shown that can actually deactivate the flu virus. Let the sun shine in if you can. Absolutely. Thank you so much, dr.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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