Don't Go To The ER If You're Sick

The aches, coughs, high fevers and sore throats that come with the influenza have many Texomans in fear.

So much that in the last month the emergency room at United Regional Hospital and its Physicians Group center have been packed. The problem is they're full with people who don't really need to be there.

Family physician Jeffrey Swanson says, "They think they might have the flu because a co-worker might have it and they want to get tested or be treated."

Swanson says in just the last week about 60 people have come to United Regional's Physician Group with flu like symptoms but only 3 actually had it. The same problem is happening at the ER and it's actually causing more people to get sick.

"If we can reduce the number of people that go to the ER it will reduce the cost, of what it costs medically speaking, with people's insurances. It reduces a lot of things but more importantly it keeps people from actually transferring illnesses to each other," said Swanson.

Swanson says you should try doing a few things instead of going to the emergency room. He says if you have symptoms that can be controlled or reduced with over the counter medications, continue to take them. If you haven't recovered in 3 or 4 days, call your personal doctor or go to a walk-in clinic.

But Roy Pierce who had the flu last year and says he nearly died from it says, if you don't want to risk having the flu, sometimes your only option is the ER.

"You can't get an appointment maybe because there are too many people out there that are sick, that can't get into their doctor to see what's going on. You can't wait to get in. When you need help you need to get it right then," said Pierce.

Doctors recommend you go to the ER if your symptoms include difficulty breathing, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, dizziness, confusion or vomiting.

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6