Timing Could Be Key To Shorter Tulsa ER Visit

Thursday, January 15th 2015, 11:21 pm
By: News On 6

The flu is spreading across Green Country; it's killed another nine people in Oklahoma and left 200 more hospitalized in the past week.

So far this season, 31 people have died and more than 1,000 have been hospitalized.

1/15/2015 Related Story: Number Of Oklahoma Influenza-Related Deaths Jumps By Nine

Emergency room waiting times are at their peak, some are waiting six hours to be seen by a doctor.

No one wants to wait six hours for anything, let alone when you have a fever, but there are some tips to get you in and out, hopefully in just thirty minutes.

Timing is everything and, oddly enough, if you time a trip to the emergency room right you could cut hours off your wait time, according to Chairperson of Emergency Medicine at St. Francis, Kimberly Felten.

"It's been very busy. We've been hit hard with Influenza," she said. "It could be even up to four to six hours, and we don't like that."

The hospital has the biggest ER in the region, but when flu season rolls around it, and many others, are packed.

“We have the highest volume in our region, and we have amazing capacity,” Felten said.

She said if you can wait to go to the ER, hold off until the morning.

"We have the highest volume in our region, and we have amazing capacity," she said. "6:00 in the morning until 10:00 is really kind of a nice time."

Morning wait times could be as little as half an hour.

"Notoriously, it's a better time. 3:00 in the afternoon to 11:00 at night, that's really, really busy. That's our prime time," Felten said.

Another tip, visit a satellite hospital, like St. Francis South or the Warren Clinic Urgent Care.

"Our volume is not as high there. It is a smaller emergency department, and our patients weren't waiting yesterday," said Felten.

Better yet, if your symptoms are not severe, call your primary care physician before heading to the ER.

"Let them give a recommendation, because if they can see you that day, they will," Felten said.

The Center for Disease Control lists flu symptoms as: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue and, sometimes, vomiting and diarrhea.

Doctors are seeing a lot of Influenza Type A this season.

Tulsa doctors are also having a hard time getting their hands on Tamiflu, a prescription medicine for the flu, because so many people are getting sick.

Tamiflu is only effective within the first few days of flu symptoms.