The flu. Every year we dread the coming of winter and all the nasty things it brings, and the flu is at the top of that list. And while 2013 isn't proving to be quite as bad as previous years--so far--when it comes to the amount of patients heading to the hospital, doctors in Chicago say they're so busy they're having to divert ambulances.
About 13 lives have been claimed so far due to the illness in two different states. According to the CDC, every time you hear someone cough in public, there's a 70-80% chance it's flu-induced. And flu germs stay active on metal and plastic for up to eight hours. Doctors say if you don't want to get the vaccination, the best way to stay healthy is to wash your hands often. If that doesn't work and you start showing symptoms, don't hesitate to contact your doc or the local emergency room. Just expect a wait.
"If you're throwing up, you can't keep down any fluids for more than a day, you're feeling weak, having trouble breathing, or chest pains we'd encourage people to come in," said Dr. Robert Feldman of Cook County Hospital.
If you haven't had the flu vaccine and are interested in getting one, many pharmacies, health departments, and even stores like Wal-Mart are offering them. In Tennessee, where the outbreak is especially bad, many health departments are offering free vaccines. However, keep in mind that they generally take up to two weeks to take effect.