Aspen hospital: Sick? Stay home | AspenTimes.com

Aspen hospital: Sick? Stay home

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

Belinda Patterson, left, receives a flu shot from nurse Jobyna Foster, right, at Betty Jean Kerr People's Health Centers Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009, in St. Louis. The largest supplier of seasonal flu vaccines to the U.S. says it has shipped more than half of the 50.5 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine ordered by health providers in the states, but the French company has sent notices to customers indicating that additional doses may be delayed. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ASPEN – With an early wave of influenza making the rounds in Aspen, the local hospital is advising people who are sick to stay home.

With more and more people with flu-like symptoms are seeking medical care, Aspen Valley Hospital issued a reminder Thursday that most influenza can be managed at home with fluids, rest and over-the-counter medications.

According to Dr. Catherine Bernard, emergency medicine specialist, physician offices and the hospital emergency room have seen a number of sick people who actually didn’t need medical care. After evaluation, most have been sent home with a recommendation that they drink lots of liquids, get plenty of rest, and take Tylenol or ibuprofen for fever and discomfort, according to the hospital press release.

“The majority of people we’re seeing are incurring an unnecessary expense and needlessly exposing others to their illness,” Bernard said in a prepared statement. “Stay home, take care of yourself, and be alert to symptoms that might require medical treatment.”

Pregnant women and those with a chronic disease such as asthma, diabetes, cancer or heart disease should seek medical care. Anyone who has difficulty breathing, is unable to drink liquids, or becomes severely ill should also seek medical attention from a physician or the hospital emergency room, AVH advised. The After-Hours Medical Care in Basalt is also available on evenings and weekends.

Finally, prevention is still the best medicine for flu according to AVH. Frequent handwashing (or use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer), coughing/sneezing into one’s sleeve or a tissue, avoiding contact with sick people and getting vaccinated against both seasonal and H1N1 flu are all recommended.

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The H1N1 vaccine is not yet available, but seasonal flu shots will be available Saturday, Oct. 17 at the Midvalley Health Day at the El Jebel Community Center. The clinic, from 8:30-11:30 a.m., is for adults only.

Flu shots will also be offered Friday, Nov. 6, from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at the Senior Health Fair at AVH. The clinic is for seniors only.

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