SALT LAKE, Utah (News4Utah) — No more wondering about when the flu season will begin. It’s already here in Utah. The University of Utah Hospital is reporting its first three confirmed cases of the flu. The first case, happened on September 20th. That’s one to two months earlier than what doctors normally see. Doctors normally see their first cases in mid-October, November or even December.
The situation in the 2017-2018 flu season was so dire in some parts of the country, patients had to be treated in tents in hospital parking lots.
While that didn’t happen here, hospitals in our area swelled with flu patients.
Dr. Troy Madsen, University of Utah Hospital Emergency Physician, ‘planning for the flu season can feel like planning for a hurricane you do everything possible when it gets here you have to hunker down and get through it.’
The flu caused 80,000 deaths nationwide.
700,000 people had to hospitalized.
Chilling numbers from the past flu season gave doctors big take away lessons.
Dr. Madsen, ‘last year was a great learning experience for all of us on how to triage flu patients. Pick out some people where they can go home, this one needs to be tested, this one needs to be admitted.’
Those lessons may have to be used much sooner than expected. Dr. Madsen says their confirmed flu cases starting in September are 1 to 3 months earlier than normal.
‘it’s hard to believe flu season is already here. We’ve had several cases of flu in the last week. I’m surprised. if there is any questions as to when flu season is starting it’s here.’
Dr. Madsen says the hospital is prepared. He says when the flu season spikes their goal is to move patients through the hospital and in some cases treat people as soon as possible instead of keeping them in the emergency room.’
He says the early flu cases could indicate a severe flu season.