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Hospitals report spike in H1N1 cases

October 19, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Vaccine makers announced last week that they're having a hard time filling their orders for the H1N1 vaccine. This is creating a lot of panic for many parents. Meantime, more and more hospitals are reporting a sharp rise in people sick with the flu.

The ER staff at Northridge Medical Center is seeing an explosion in flu cases, with about 30 a day.

"Of these 30 cases we are seeing probably every single one is H1N1, or what was called the swine flu," said Dr. Stephen Jones from Northridge Medical Center.

Heather Hanna doesn't want to get sick, but she had to make a trip to the hospital because a heavy object fell on her son's foot.

"Everyone in here has it and now my son is in here," said Hanna.

You can't do anything about sick people heading into the ER, but hospital administrators would like to prevent sick people from visiting other patients. Signs throughout the hospital warn sick visitors to stay away.

"It's not a mandatory screening process at this point, but simply we're asking the public if they are not feeling well to please stay at home so they don't get our patients and visitors sick," said Dr. Jones.

If the H1N1 flu activity continues to escalate, Dr. Jones says some hospitals may require a mandatory check of visitors before entering.

Delays in the H1N1 vaccine aren't helping matters. Parents are desperate to help their kids and now opportunists are preying on that. Ads for fake flu products are popping up all over the Internet.

"It gets toward the point of being inappropriate," said Dr. Jones.

Dr. Jones says ads for really cheap antiviral products, like Tamiflu, are simply too good to be true. He adds products that claim to boost your immunity against the H1N1 virus do not work.

"There's certainly no evidence to show that using any of these cures will help you," said Dr. Jones. "Stay in good health and get the vaccine when it's available."

The CDC recommends patients coming into the hospital with flu symptoms should wear a mask.


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