Influenza types A and B, plus subtypes of influenza A, are responsible for causing outbreaks of the flu each year. Sometimes, those outbreaks become deadly. Emergency care providers strongly recommend that all individuals who are medically able to get vaccinated do so at the start of each flu season. You should also know the warning signs of a serious case of influenza , which warrant a trip to the ER at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.
Identifying serious flu symptoms
Serious flu symptoms that require emergency care include:
- Relentless nausea and vomiting
- Sudden dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest or abdominal pain or pressure
- Symptoms that improve, but then worsen
Infants need emergency care if they have any of these serious symptoms:
- Inability to feed
- Problems breathing
- Few to no wet diapers
- Lack of tears when crying
Older children who are seriously ill with influenza may have any of these health problems:
- Bluish skin color
- Inability to keep liquids down
- Rapid breathing
- Difficulty breathing
- Inability to be awakened
- Fever with a rash
Watch the accompanying video to hear about some of the other serious symptoms to watch out for. This emergency care doctor explains that a headache and fever, combined with neck pain and stiffness requires a prompt medical evaluation. These symptoms could actually indicate meningitis, which is often misinterpreted by patients as being flu.
Understanding your risk factors
If you have a high risk of flu-related complications , your doctor may ask that you go to the ER soon after realizing you have the flu, rather than waiting for serious symptoms to develop. Patients at a high risk include:
- Pregnant women
- Women who gave birth within the previous two weeks
- Children younger than five
- Seniors ages 65 and older
Patients with certain medical conditions may also need early antiviral treatment for the flu, including the following:
- Kidney or liver disorders
- Chronic lung disease
- Endocrine disorders (including diabetes)
- Heart disease
- Neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders
- Morbid obesity
The emergency care doctors at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center are available 24/7 to provide rapid medical interventions. Las Vegas residents are urged to call 911 if they are experiencing a true medical emergency. Otherwise, a registered nurse at (702) 233-5300 can provide a physician referral.
Dedicated trauma care is different from emergency care. Emergency care doctors can treat all sorts of medical problems, such as broken bones and heart attacks, but trauma surgeons have specialized training and expertise to treat patients who are at imminent risk of losing their lives due to severe injuries. There are designated levels of trauma centers, depending on the level of care they offer. Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas features a Level II Trauma Center.
When you’ve been involved in a serious vehicular accident
After a minor fender bender, you might seek emergency care for problems like whiplash. But if you’ve been critically injured in a serious accident, you’ll be taken to a Trauma Center. Trauma care teams are trained to respond immediately, around the clock, to patients with these types of car accident injuries:
Complex facial trauma
When you’ve sustained severe, penetrating wounds
Trauma care surgeons are on call around the clock to save the lives of patients who have been shot, stabbed or otherwise assaulted. When a patient arrives at the hospital with a life-threatening, penetrating wound, the trauma care team will rapidly assess the following:
Location of entry and exit wound
Damage to internal organs
Damage to major blood vessels
Trauma care teams initially focus on opening the airway to manage respiratory distress, and preventing fatal blood loss by setting up an IV.
When you’ve sustained spinal cord or brain injuries
Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries can be fatal or result in permanent, extensive disabilities. For these patients, the trauma team focuses on stabilization to prevent further injury, as well as:
Assessment and treatment of shock, hemorrhage and hypotension
All of these medical interventions require specialized medical knowledge and advanced technical skills. If you do require trauma care someday, you can rest assured the trauma care team will do everything possible to achieve the best possible outcome.
When you watch the accompanying video, you can hear about Level II Trauma Center at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. Around the clock, our emergency care team and trauma specialists are here to save the lives of Las Vegas residents and visitors. Call 911 for emergency care, or, for non-emergent inquiries, call a registered nurse at (702) 233-5300.
Some people hesitate to get vaccinated against seasonal influenza, because they worry the flu shot isn’t safe, or they’re concerned that it’s ineffective. Fortunately, neither is true. Each year, research scientists spend long hours identifying the most threatening flu strains for the upcoming season, and producing vaccines to protect the population from outbreaks. Before any vaccine is made available to patients, it is exhaustively tested for safety and effectiveness. If you still have concerns about getting vaccinated, you can put your trust in the compassionate physicians and nurses at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.
Minor side effects
Most people who receive the flu shot don’t experience any problems, and they enjoy protection from potentially serious flu viruses all season long. When side effects do occur, they are almost always mild, and they resolve quickly. These side effects can include:
- Minor soreness, redness and swelling at the injection site
- Low-grade fever
Rare, but serious side effects
It’s possible, although rare, for a patient to experience a more serious side effect after getting a flu shot . These uncommon side effects can include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- High-grade fever
- Difficulty breathing
Patients are advised to seek emergency care if any of these problems develop.
Certain people might not be able to get vaccinated, due to medical reasons. Talk to your doctor about whether the flu shot is safe for you if any of the following apply:
- Life-threatening allergy to chicken eggs
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Current, severe illness with a fever
- Past severe reaction to the flu shot
If the nasal spray is being offered during a flu season, certain people are advised to get the shot instead. These include children who are 24 months of age or younger. Children with asthma or a history of wheezing should also receive the injection instead of the nasal mist.
Your doctor will likely advise you to get the injection instead of the spray if you:
- Have a suppressed immune system
- Have received any other vaccines in the past month
- Are pregnant
- Are aged 50 or older
- Have a chronic medical condition
- Frequently come into contact with people with weakened immune systems
The doctors and nurses at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center are your partners in health. We always welcome questions from our patients in Las Vegas about vaccinations, because preventive care matters to us. For general healthcare information, or to request a physician referral, call a registered nurse at (702) 233-5300.
A baby’s delight in all aspects of life is refreshing to see, and playing with young kids allows the adult members of the family to feel young again. During the holiday season, the emergency care team at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center would like to urge caution when selecting gifts for babies, as many of them aren’t safe. Consider talking to your pediatrician about how you can choose safe toys for your child.
Inappropriate age range
The first indicator that a toy might not be appropriate for your child is if the item is recommended for older children. Always check the warning labels and age indications on any gift your child receives. If the toy is intended for older children, you can store it out of reach until your child is old enough to play with it.
Small toy components
Babies love to explore objects with their hands and mouth. Some toys aren’t safe for babies, because they have small parts that can cause a baby to choke. Before letting your baby play with a new toy, check the following:
- All batteries should be housed in a compartment only accessible via a screwdriver
- Small parts should be securely attached to the toy
- All toy parts should be larger than the child’s mouth
To figure out if one part of the toy is too small for your child, try to fit it inside a toilet paper roll. If one part of the toy fits, it’s too small. Use this quick test until your child is at least three years old.
Secondhand baby items can help parents stay on budget, but they aren’t always safe. Check that all toys are in good condition, and that all components are securely attached. Additionally, avoid very old toys that might have lead-based paint.
The emergency care team at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center can rely on the pediatric expertise of Sunrise Children’s Hospital when a child with complex injuries arrives at our ER. Call 911 if your family is affected by a true medical emergency. A registered nurse is available at (702) 233-5300 to answer non-emergent questions from our neighbors in Las Vegas.