Flu season is on the rise in Arizona and providers at Valleywise Health are addressing respiratory infections at high rates at the Roosevelt campus’ emergency department.

“In my decade at Valleywise, I’ve never seen the emergency department this crowded,” shared Kara Geren, M.D., M.P.H., emergency room physician at Valleywise Health. “Respiratory illnesses are the bulk of our visits now, but the recent cold snap and other factors are contributing, as well.”

LEARN MORE: The 100 Best Doctors in Arizona for 2024

Valleywise Health professionals encourage Valley residents to practice smart precautions to avoid flu and COVID, including thorough and frequent handwashing, masking in crowded areas, staying up to date on vaccines and socially distancing if they have any symptoms, including fever, cough and vomiting. For those who do become ill with influenza, at-home care, including rest and hydration, should help ease symptoms in time.

However, Valleywise did note people should go to the emergency room if certain symptoms arise. These could include:

  • Uncontrolled fever
  • Breathing problems
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

While not necessarily requiring an emergency room visit, those at high risk of complications should see a primary care provider at the first signs of having the flu. This includes:

  • Those 65 or older
  • Children under age 2
  • Anyone who is pregnant or up to two weeks postpartum
  • Anyone on immunosuppressing drugs or with chronic lung diseases

Others suffering from the flu should visit a primary care provider if:

  • Their fever gets better, then suddenly worsens
  • Their symptoms don’t improve within two weeks
  • Their pain continues to affect a single area (e.g.; ear, chest or sinuses)

Patients seeking an appointment can visit ValleywiseHealth.org or call 833-VLLYWSE (833-855-9973).