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Columbus Emergency Rooms See Slight Increase Of Visitors Concerned About Swine Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the number of swine flu cases in the United States has topped 100, with confirmed infections in 11 states. In Columbus, the swine flu scare has resulted in a few more visits to Columbus emergency rooms.

Doctor Medard Lutmerding is a Mount Carmel Hospital emergency room physician. He says there have only been a handful of patients who've come to the emergency department in the last day or two concerned that they might have swine flu

"I think they do have some symptomatology but when we look at what a case definition is and what some of the epidemiological factors are they are not really fitting the criteria for testing that's come out of the Columbus Health Department."

Doctor Lutmerding says the symptoms of swine flu are similar to other types of influenza:

Runny Nose Nasal Congestion Cough Fever Shortness of Breath Sore Throat and Muscle Aches

He says the swine flu strain can also cause nausea and vomiting. But he stresses that people should contact their family doctor first if they have concerns. Lutmerding says a trip to the emergency room should only be made if symptoms become more severe

"We're stressing that the patients with minor symptoms can best be served by their family physician. If the patient develops severe shortness of breath or extremely high fever or looks ill with the illness then they should consider that or again call their family physician." At the Columbus Department of Health Doctor Teresa Long gives similar advice. She says people with flu like symptoms should ask themselves some commonsense questions before heading to the doctor's office.

"If they haven't had a travel history, if they have not been exposed to someone that they believe is a probable case or has that kind of history and they're not significantly ill, they're not having trouble breathing, they're not immuno-compromised for some other reason, we encourage them to stay home."