The American College of Emergency Physicians—together with HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and its Emergency Care Coordination Center—have developed a set of guidelines to help the public determine if their flu-like symptoms merit an emergency-department visit.
According to the guidance, people who have chest pain, signs of dehydration, discoloration of the lips, or a breathing rate that is greater than 24 breaths per minute should visit an emergency department.
“Ultimately, you are probably the best judge of whether to seek emergency care,” said Angela Gardner, president of the 28,000-member organization, in a news release. “If you think you are having an emergency, come see us. We are specialists in diagnosing and treating all kinds of emergencies, including flu. Our doors are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.”
Meanwhile, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday there are now 31.8 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine available. “That is a continuing, steady increase in the amount available,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, “but we know it’s not nearly as much as we’d like.”