With peak flu season still to come, UC Davis Medical Center is preparing to handle a surge of flu-related cases if the need arises. It is prepping an unused area within the hospital where patients with the flu can be isolated and treated should other options within the hospital reach capacity.
This temporary space has been approved by the California Department of Public Health for use, if necessary, in treating as many as 16 UC Davis ambulatory patients with suspected flu diagnoses.
UC Davis took this step given the early onset of the flu season in Northern California and the additional patient volumes reported by hospitals in Southern California and the Bay Area, some of which have established outdoor areas for assessing flu patients. UC Davis is not expecting to utilize outdoor space for patient triage or care at this time.
About the flu
Most patients are not hospitalized for flu unless symptoms rapidly worsen, or if they have additional symptoms or illnesses that require oxygen or other medical management not available at home. Patients with chronic or immune system conditions are more susceptible to flu complications and more likely to require hospitalization.
The current flu strain — influenza A, H3N2 — is a concern to UC Davis Health physicians, especially for their patients with pulmonary or heart diseases. They recommend these steps for reducing the risks and spread of the flu:
- If you haven’t already, get a flu vaccine.
- Wash your hands every hour with warm water and soap.
- Carry alcohol-based sanitizer with you for times when you can’t wash your hands with soap and water.
- Avoid touching shared surfaces, including computer keyboards, or wipe them with a sanitizing cloth before doing so.
If you catch the flu:
- Contact your primary care doctor within 48 hours of experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, congestion, fatigue and muscle pain). He/she may do a rapid test to confirm a flu diagnosis, and then prescribe medications or recommend over-the-counter treatments that reduce symptom severity.
- If symptoms worsen or persist, check again with your doctor. It’s possible that hospitalization may be necessary.
- Stay home from work or school until all flu symptoms have been gone at least two days.
More flu resources from UC Davis Medical Center:
Information for UC Davis patients with flu symptoms
Information for families of hospitalized flu patients
Five reasons to get a flu