Children's Healthcare of Atlanta ER visits to surpass 10,000 in - CBS46 News

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta ER visits to surpass 10,000 in December

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Kids are set to break a record at a local hospital this month. Sick visits at the emergency room are through the roof.

Tanisha Roberts took her 3-year-old daughter Morgan to the emergency room Friday with what she thought were flu-like symptoms.

"This morning she woke up with a fever and she also woke up screaming of stomach pain so I just got up and came here and didn't waste any time," Roberts said. 

Roberts isn't alone, thousands of parents have made the trip to the ER this month because doctors have said this is the earliest flu season in the U.S. in decades.

"We're close to 10,000 emergency department visits for the month of December already and these are numbers that we haven't seen in a while," Dr. James Fortenberry said.

Fortenberry said the medical team at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta has made adjustments to accommodate the high volume of patients.

"We've opened up extra rooms, we've called in extra teams of physicians," Fortenberry said.

As a result, wait times have been much longer in some cases and doctors are urging children to stay home unless you have the following issues.

"The primary reasons that you would want to bring your child to the emergency department would be if your child is having labored breathing or difficulty breathing, if they are difficult to arouse from sleep and if they're unable to keep fluids down due to vomiting or diarrhea," Fortenberry said.

Doctors recommend you take your child to a pediatrician if they are experiencing normal flu-like symptoms to improve efficiency in the ER.  It's easier said than done when you're a concerned parent.

"You should always bring them just to make sure," Roberts said.

If you're trying to determine whether to bring your child to the ER or just tough it out at home, you can call the flu hotline at 404-785-0000.

Flu hotline: 404-785-0000
Dr. James Fortenberry -Pediatrician in Chief, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston

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