Preparing for the Flu Season

Have you received the flu vaccine yet? If you haven’t, you still have time to get it and protect yourself, your family and friends from getting the flu. The flu season in Carroll County can last into April.

Last year’s flu season (2017-2018) was particularly severe. It resulted in a sharp increase in visits to emergency rooms for flu-like illnesses at Carroll Hospital and hospitals across the state and nation. Carroll Hospital temporarily changed its visiting policy, and the Carroll County Health Department scheduled additional vaccine clinics in order to help address the issue.

While the hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) always strives to provide patients with swift and efficient care, the hospital has stepped up its efforts for the 2018-2019 flu season by establishing a flu care area, solely geared toward treating people with flu symptoms.

The area will be located inside a heated tent in the hospital’s ambulance bay outside the ED. It will be staffed by a registered nurse and patient care technician and will provide 12 additional areas to treat patients with flu-related illnesses.

The intake process will remain the same for patients with the flu. After discussing their symptoms with a greeter inside the ED, they will be sent to the intake area, where a health care provider will evaluate them.

The provider will order specific tests such as a flu swab and blood work. The patient will be given a face mask to prevent transmission of the flu, then sent to the expedited flu care area for assistance while awaiting his or her test results. If a person tests positive for the flu, he or she will be given medication and discharged accordingly.

To date, the number of flu cases has not been as high as last year, so the area has yet to be set up. But the hospital is ready to do so if we begin seeing an uptick of patients with the flu.

Remember, help protect yourself, loved ones and friends from the flu. If you have not done so already, contact your provider to receive the flu vaccine today. Need help finding a provider? Call the hospital’s Care Connect line at 410-871-7000 or visit our online directory.

Pictured above: Hospital staff prepare for another potentially aggressive flu season with the addition of an expedited flu care area. Here, hospital staff recently conducted a drill setting up a heated tent outside the Emergency Department, in the event of an uptick in patients seeking treatment for flu.

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