Hospitals brace for the upcoming flu season


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The Natural State is experiencing a hospital bed shortage. Local health professionals said the coming flu season could create an even larger mess than we already have. 

Last year we saw a record low number of flu cases, so hospitals could focus primarily on battling the pandemic

Record low case number health professionals attribute to measure we were already taking. 

“Now, with the decrease in social distancing and masks, we see the spread of a lot of respiratory viruses that we did not see last year,” said Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the ADH.   

Because of the decrease in guidelines and mandates, Dr. Dillaha believes this flu season will not be like the last. 

“I would expect that were going to have a real and true flu season this coming winter,” said Dr. Dillaha/ 

A flu season could cause even larger problems for struggling hospitals.  

“We know the flu season is coming, on top of staffing shortages that already exist,” said Imran Vithani with StaffDNA./ 

Shorage professionals attribute this to the surge of COVID-19 cases.  

“Anytime we add additional COVID-19 beds, it means we have to shift additional staff and others. Unfortunately, we’re not able to manufacture nurses, respiratory therapists, and lab personnel,” said Dr. David Ratcliff. 

Dr. Dillaha said a crazy year for influenza in 2021 could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. 

“That is a very real concern. Every year clinics and hospitals see an increase in flu cases, and some years, it stretches them depending on how bad the flu season is,” said Dr. Dillaha. 

Dr. Dillaha says the best way you can help yourself and the already burnt-out medical staff is to be thinking about getting your flu shot now. These, on top of masking and practicing good hygiene, are great places to start. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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