Flu sufferers encouraged to use primary care provider, urgent care clinics

‘Record numbers’ at Laurinburg hospital

LAURINBURG — Official with Scotland Health Care System in Laurinburg are urging those suffering from flu-like symptoms to seek treatment from their primary care provider or at urgent care clinics — and save the emergency departments for true emergencies.

Seasonal flu has arrived in North Carolina.

Submitted photo Scotland Memorial Hospital officials are asking patients suffering from flu-like symptoms to seek care from their primary care providers or at urgent care clinics before rushing to the emergency department.

Submitted photo
Scotland Memorial Hospital officials are asking patients suffering from flu-like symptoms to seek care from their primary care providers or at urgent care clinics before rushing to the emergency department.

“We have been seeing record numbers of patients in our Emergency Center with flu-like symptoms,” said Dr. Cheryl Davis, Scotland Memorial Hospital’s chief medical officer. “To avoid long wait times in the EC and at Scotland Urgent Care, I encourage anyone with flu-like symptoms or with a chronic health condition to utilize the services of their primary care provider or the Urgent Care Center for health issues not requiring emergency care.”

On Tuesday, state health officials warned that the bad flu season is expected to get worse. According to WFAE in Charlotte, 17 people in North Carolina have died from the flu, including nine last week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now reports the flu has reached epidemic levels in North Carolina and 42 other states. This year the most active strain of the virus is known as H3N2. And it’s a particularly nasty bug, Megan Davies, North Carolina’s chief epidemiologist, told WFAE.

“The H3N2 type of influenza tends to cause more severe illness in the elderly which is consistent with what we’ve seen this year.” It is also potentially more dangerous for children, pregnant women, those who suffer asthma and those with compromised immune systems.

Of course, anyone who is experiencing a true emergency should not hesitate to come to Scotland Memorial for emergency medical care. Patients in the EC will be treated in the order of the seriousness of their illness. Those who come to the EC with flu-like symptoms or with a chronic condition such as diabetes, pain, or high blood pressure may experience a delay in treatment due to the number of patients being seen during this time.

Scotland Memorial instituted visitor restrictions on Dec. 22. FirstHealth of the Carolinas matched that eight days later.

In order to minimize the risk to patients and the general public, visiting at the hospital is discouraged at any age if the visitor is experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches, diarrhea or vomiting. For the protection of all patients and visitors, children under the age of 12 will not be allowed to visit Scotland Memorial Hospital until the spread of seasonal flu has been minimized.

Davis said that most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs.

“In most cases you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. However, if your flu symptoms are severe or if you are in a high risk group such as young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women and those with a medical condition, call your health care provider for advice.

Scotland Health Care System owns and operates five primary care practices, all of which are taking new patients. At many of these practices, same-day or next-day appointments are available for established patients. You may call one of the following for more information:

  • Scotland Health Care Center (Bennettsville) – 843-454-0245
  • Harris Family Practice (Laurinburg) – 910-276-6767
  • Maxton Family Practice Center (Maxton) – 910-844-4077
  • Pembroke Family Practice Center (Pembroke) – 910-521-4462
  • Wagram Family Practice Center (Wagram) – 910-369-3136

For more information about Scotland’s ER wait times or primary care providers, please call 910-291-7550.

Filed in: Health, Latest Headlines, News

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