Healthcare providers preparing for the worst following record-breaking hospitalizations, deaths last flu season

HOUSTON (October 29, 2018)—With temperatures dropping, healthcare providers across the U.S. are preparing for the worst after a record-breaking 900,000 hospitalizations and more than 80,000 deaths reported last flu season.

While the timing, severity and length of flu season varies from year to year, healthcare providers are taking no chances and making arrangements before the annual epidemic strikes. Reported respiratory illnesses caused by the flu typically increase in November and peak between December and February.

In addition to urging everyone ages 6 months and older to get immunized against the influenza virus, hospital administrators are renting additional medical equipment to help treat the influx of patients expected in the coming months.

Respiratory therapists in hospitals turn to breathing ventilators to provide oxygen therapy and support patients’ weakened lungs and respiratory tracts inflamed by the body’s work to fight the invading flu virus. US Med-Equip, which partners with top hospitals across the nation to provide the highest quality movable medical equipment for patients in their care, already has seen a spike in orders for respiratory ventilators. US Med-Equip invested more than $32 million in thousands of new ventilators to help healthcare providers brace for the flu outbreak.

“Hospital staffers want to ensure they provide the best care possible by planning ahead and stretching every dollar to benefit their patients,” US Med-Equip CEO Gurmit Bhatia said. “Though we’re all hoping the flu doesn’t hit as hard as it did last year, healthcare providers are not waiting for the epidemic before bringing in extra equipment to be ready to help the surge of expected patients heal.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Infections is warning the public to heed the dangers of flu infection and other respiratory viruses that commonly circulate during flu season and send hundreds of thousands of people to hospitals for treatments:

“Anyone can get sick with flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to flu can happen at any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women and children younger than 5 years, but especially those younger than 2 years old.

Rates of respiratory infections are expected to be even worse this season in regions struck by hurricanes, as people breathe in mold spores from flooded homes.