Schools send sick kids home - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Schools send sick kids home

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

Thomasville,  GA (WALB) -  Everyday, dozens of school kids all over south Georgia are heading home early with flu-like symptoms. In Thomas County over 100 were sent home Tuesday.

And it looks as though it's going to get worse before it gets better. The problem now is kids are flooding emergency rooms, doctors offices, and drug stores.

Nurses are taking every precaution, and sending kids home with even the slightest flu symptom. And telling them not to come back until 24 hours after a fever is gone, without using fever reducing medicine.

Thomas County kids started classes three weeks ago. Now everyday, dozens of kids are sent home with H1N1 flu symptoms.  "Our volume picked up about a week and a half ago. And it has steadily accelerated with yesterday being one of the busiest days we've had here in a couple of years,"  said Carol Ann Redfearn of Archbold Urgent Care.

Archbold Urgent Care saw 80 patients Monday, most of them school-aged. Because when kids are sent home from school, they make an immediate stop at the doctor's office.

The Pediatric Center they saw 150 kids with flu like symptoms. In order to take care of the large number of kids, they brought on an extra doctor and even stayed until 6PM, an hour after they close. But health officials say heading straight to a doctor often does more harm than good.

"You're exposing others to your virus, and exposing yourself to other harmful viruses. So Unless you are a high risk patient or have symptoms that include difficulty breathing or vomiting, it's best to stay home," said Redfearn.

"We've had a lot of children come in with swine flu, to fill prescriptions," said Jeff Cox of Murphy Drugs.

A lot of doctors are filling out prescriptions for Tamiflu Drug stores are crowded, too. Murphy Drugs even ran out of the liquid form of Tamiflu last Friday.

But again, health officials say the average person doesn't need Tamiflu. Only patients who are in the high risk category. "If you're sick you need to stay home and if you have a fever take Tylenol and stay well hydrated and stay away from people who are not in good health," said Redfearn.

High risk patients include people who are pregnant, have asthma or diabetes, have poor immune systems or have a chronic illness.

Again health officials are stressing home care for people with flu symptoms unless you are high risk OR have difficulty breathing, are vomiting, OR if flu-like symptoms go away, and then return again with a high fever or worse cough.

Also, you can fight the flu by hand washing constantly, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

The emergency room in Thomasville has also been crowded with patients with flu-like symptoms.  Archbold's ER saw about 25 flu patients Monday, and most of them didn't need emergency care.

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