Hospitals making changes to handle influx of patients with flu - KCTV5 News

Hospitals making changes to handle influx of patients with the flu

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The continuing spread of the flu is forcing hospitals to make some changes in order to handle the rush of patients.

Doctors say the simple measure of just getting a flu shot is one not enough people are taking and the lack of those vaccinated has led to crowded hospitals and even deaths.

Kansas is one of the states with the highest influenza infections. At the University of Kansas Hospital, 397 patients have tested positive for H1N1. That's the strain of the flu that went rampant in 2009.

"This is not an epidemic, but this is the same strain of flu which caused the pandemic back in 2009. Fortunately and most importantly this year's influenza vaccine contains that same strain," said Dr. Michael Luchi, with the University of Kansas Hospital's infectious diseases department.

Another hospital, St. Luke's, says it is now in incident command mode. That means it is staffed to capacity and able to open up extra beds to accommodate the influx of patients because of the flu.

In response to the growing outbreak, the Kansas City, MO, Health Department is offering free flu shots. The shots are available to anyone old than two years old while supplies last. The health department's clinic is located at 24th Street and Troost Avenue and is open Monday through Friday.

The Health Department's clinic hours are 8-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursdays. Registration for the clinic closes 30 minutes before the clinic does each day, so please do not wait till the end of a shift to arrive.

Doctors say the flu shot uses a dead virus and will not cause flu-like symptoms, correcting one of the myths circulating about the shot.

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