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Flu Cases On The Rise In San Diego, Patients Pack Into Sharp Grossmont

A sanitizing station with adult and child masks awaits patients at Sharp Gros...

Photo by Susan Murphy

Above: A sanitizing station with adult and child masks awaits patients at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, Jan. 3, 2018.

With more than 7,000 lab-confirmed flu cases and 45 flu deaths so far this season, hundreds of people are packing into the emergency room at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa each day.

Emergency Department Medical Director Julie Phillips on Wednesday said, "So far on average we're about 300 patients a day; some days have been much higher than that. Many of them are flu patients." Phillips added that the hospital has activated an additional treatment area inside the ER to respond to the influx of patients.

The hospital is also working to mitigate the spread of the virus. "Everyone who arrives needs to wash their hands. They're encouraged to use the hand sanitizers frequently. Anyone with flu symptoms or any other respiratory symptoms are wearing masks, our staffing is wearing masks pretty much around the clock at this point," Phillips said.

Flu Cases On The Rise In San Diego, Patients Pack Into Sharp Grossmont

People who test positive for flu, and are admitted to the hospital, are being isolated from other patients. Currently, more than 50 flu patients are hospitalized at Sharp Grossmont. "On top of it we are increasing the visitor age limit to 12 so that we can protect the youngest kids from influenza," Phillips said.

RELATED: Flu Deaths Rise To 45 In San Diego County, Including Infant

Philips said the emergency room wait time for patients with minor flu symptoms can be extensive. Instead, she recommends resting at home and taking over-the-counter medications while letting the virus run its course. "If you're having more severe symptoms such as you can't hold fluids down, if you are having symptoms of shortness of breath ... that's different and that's something that probably needs to be seen by a provider somewhere," Phillips said.

Flu symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches, and fatigue. Her advice? "Stay home if you're sick. Do not go to work. Do not go to school. That is how we're spreading the flu," Phillips said.

If you haven't received a vaccine, you can still get a shot at the following locations:

Flu vaccines are available at the following locations:

Central Region Public Health Center

Ongoing

Mon., Wed., Thurs., 8:30-11 am and 1-4 pm

5202 University Ave.

San Diego, CA 92105

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available beginning on Oct. 6 on a walk-in basis, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 8:30-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed, but if desired, appointments can be made online at https://onlineappts.hhsa-sdcounty.org. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

VIP Immunization Trailer

Ongoing

Mon.-Fri., 8-11 am and 1-4 pm

3177A Ocean View Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92113

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available beginning on Oct. 6 on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday, from 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed but if desired, appointments can be made online at https://onlineappts.hhsa-sdcounty.org. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

East Region Public Health Center

Ongoing

Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri., 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. and Thurs., 1-4 p.m.

367 N. Magnolia Ave., Ste. 101

El Cajon, CA 92020

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available on a walk-in basis, Monday through Wednesday and Friday, from 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m., also on Thursday, from 1-4 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Please call the Center at 619-441-6500 for information about Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines.

North Central Public Health Center

Ongoing

Mon.-Fri., 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m.

NOTE: Clinic closed the second Thurs. of every month from 8-11 a.m.

5055 Ruffin Rd.

San Diego, CA 92123

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday, from 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m., except the second Thursday of every month, when flu vaccine is only available from 1-4 pm. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Please call the Center at (858) 573-7300 for information about Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines.

North Inland Public Health Center

Ongoing

Mon. & Fri., 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m.

649 W. Mission Ave., Suite 2

Escondido, CA 92025

Flu vaccine for ages 6mos and older is available Mondays & Fridays. Adults may also call for availability Tuesday through Thursday. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines..

Ramona Public Health Office

Ongoing

Second Wed. of every month from 1-3 p.m.

1521 Main St.

Ramona, CA 92065

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available on a walk-in basis, on the second Wednesday of every month, from 1-3 p.m.

Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

New Hope Church

Ongoing

Third Wed. of every month from 8:30-11 a.m.

10330 Carmel Mountain Rd.

San Diego, CA 92129

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is now available on a walk-in basis, on the third Wednesday of every month, from 8:30-11 a.m.

Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

North Coastal Public Health Center

Ongoing

Mon. & Fri., 8-11:30 a.m.and 1-4 p.m.

3609 Ocean Ranch Blvd., Suite 104

Oceanside, CA 92056

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available beginning Oct. 6 on a walk-in basis, Monday and Friday, from 8-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

Fallbrook Community Resources Center

Ongoing

Second Mon. of every month from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

202 W. College Ave.

Fallbrook, CA 92028

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available on a walk-in basis, on the second Monday of every month, from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

Solana Beach Presbyterian Church

Ongoing

Second Tues. of every month from 1-4 p.m.

120 Stevens Ave.

Solana Beach, CA 92075

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available on a walk-in basis, on the second Tuesday of every month, from 1-4 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

South Region Public Health Center

Ongoing

Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

690 Oxford St., Suite H

Chula Vista, CA 91911

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Note that the clinic may close earlier than the listed time if clinic capacity is reached. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed, but if desired, appointments can be made online at https://onlineappts.hhsa-sdcounty.org. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

Vaccination is especially important for those who are at high risk of developing serious complications from the flu. They include people with chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes and lung disease; pregnant women; those over 65; and people who live with or care for those who are at higher risk, health officials said.

Vaccines are available at doctors' offices and retail pharmacies. Those without insurance can go to a county public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 211.

As there have been more than 7,000 lab-confirmed flu cases and 45 deaths due to the flu so far this season, hundreds of people have been packing the emergency room at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa.

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