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Local pediatricians work to take pressure off hospitals, treat more flu cases

File Photo: MGN

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. -- A Fox 17 health alert, as local pediatricians say they're being asked to take some of the pressure off emergency rooms.

The Centers for Disease Control reports record breaking flu hospitalizations this season, so now mid-state doctors are scrambling to treat as many patients as possible before it's too late.

At its latest briefing, the CDC said flu hospitalizations this season are the highest they've ever seen.

Perhaps just as concerning, the number of pediatric deaths from the flu has surged to 53.

"I know a lot of my colleagues in the emergency room are drowning right now in patients, so my heart goes out to them because I know they are working as hard as they can to take care of these kids," says Brentwood pediatrician Dr. Tobi Amosun.

Amosun says both the Department of Health and Vanderbilt University Medical Center have sent out emails, asking mid-state primary care physicians to see as many kids as possible because hospitals are overwhelmed.

So far her patient load has nearly doubled because of the widespread nature of the flu this season, says Amosun.

Take Saturday, for example.

"Normally (I see about) about 15 to 17 patients, I saw 26 or 27 patients by myself, which meant I was running between the rooms, but and we were still having to turn away patients," says Amosun.

So if your child has mild symptoms, is not in respiratory distress, and can go to the bathroom and keep food down, keep them home overnight.

"The kids I would be a little more concerned for are the ones who have underlying conditions, but the vast majority of healthy kids can manage with Tylenol, Motrin, fluids, rest and then see their pediatrician in the morning."

Amosun says if your child has not gotten their flu shot yet, it is not too late.

She says even if they still get the flu, they'll recover faster, and will be less likely to be hospitalized.

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