PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Thirteen-year-old Nick Healton is in the emergency room after hurting his arm playing basketball. While in the E-R, a pediatric doctor gave Nick a quick lesson on what to do to try to avoid getting sick as we approach the peak of the flu season.
Dr. Cristina Perez De Cardenas from Palms West Hospital said, "So what have you learned, what do you know to do at school? To wash your hands with soap and water all the time you use the bathroom and put your hands over your mouth when you cough."
Dr. Perez said she has seen an increase in patients coming to the E-R with flu-like symptoms, compared to other years. "We are seeing about a 40 percent volume of children coming in with flu-like illness in the last month to two weeks. A large increase since last month."
Doctor John Halpren, Medical Director of the Emergency Department, treats adults in the hospital. He has seen an increase as well. "I would say at least 10 percent of the people are coming in with those flu symptoms typical and atypical."
Dr. Halpren says more people will get the flu before the season is over. "It is peaking earlier than expected and so we are being very watchful for even more increases as we progress into the season."
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