SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Emergency departments across the country are dealing with a high volume of flu cases and that is also true here in Western Massachusetts.

Dr. Artenstein from Baystate health emphasizing the importance of vaccinations, self care at home, and talking to your primary care physician or urgent care before heading to the emergency room. Baystate health is seeing a sharp increase in adult patients seeking treatment for the flu. According to the CDC the united states is experiencing the highest number of flu hospitalizations in a decade.

“For weeks and months we have been in the throes of surge of pediatric viral infections that’s ease off a drop but we still are higher than we should be this time of year,” Dr. Artenstein told 22News.

Dr. Artenstein says that to help lessen overcrowding during this time of flu and viral illness its important to recognize typical flu symptoms vs. emergency warning signs of the flu.

Tina Soja West Springfield
“Just recently went to the ER for my mom not COVID or anything related but there are so many people in the ER it was hours and hours of waiting,” said Tina Soja from West Springfield.

Some of those common flu symptoms include fever or chills, cough or sore throat, or headaches and fatigue. Emergency signs include labored breathing and persistent cough and neck stiffness.

“Most people get better that is not necessarily a reason to run the the emergency department because what’s happening in the emergency department is there are crowds of people. If you’re not sick already you’re putting yourself at risk,” said Dr. Artenstein.

Health experts encouraging those with common systems to seek alternative health care options before heading over to the hospital and occupying a spot that could help someone in critical need.

Each year the CDC encourages everyone to get their flu shot by the end of October to help prevent the flu.