Lumberton hospital asks flu patients to avoid emergency room

One local hospital asks patients who think they have the flu to go to a clinic instead of the emergency room

LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – One local hospital asks patients who think they have the flu to go to a clinic instead of the emergency room.

We hear doctors say it all the time: wash your hands, use soap and warm water, cover your mouth, use hand sanitizer, that we can sometimes forget how important it is. In just the past month though, Southeastern Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department has seen over 150 flu cases, and they need patients to find a clinic instead of the ER.

“We thought, what’s going on, so we need to see what’s trending,” recalled Emergency Services Director Sonja Hilburn, in response to a rise in flu-related visits in the last month.

“We’re at 153 now, and that doesn’t include today,” Hilburn explained. “I know today we have seen over 20 patients looks like, with flu symptoms and other respiratory-type illness.”

So many patients, in fact, that the hospital asked those who think they may have the flu, to avoid the ER.

“We need those rooms and that capability to take care of our critical patients, our trauma patients, our very sick patients,” said Hilburn. She explained it usually isn’t worth the wait to come to the emergency room.

“With flu-like symptoms you can be taken care of in 30 minutes at a walk-in clinic,” Hilburn said. “It might take you hours in the ER.”

This flu season has been tough across the country. The Centers for Disease Control reported recently that 43 states have seen increases in the number of cases from last year.

“It’s just flu season,” shrugged Hilburn. “We do expect it.”

Hilburn said children and the elderly should be especially careful and avoid large crowds. She also gave one more important tip for everyone to help keep the doctor away this flu season.

“Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.”

Below is a list of walk-in clinics you can visit instead of the ER if you’re feeling under the weather.

Southeastern Health Walk-in Clinics (No appointment needed)

  • The Clinic at Walmart (Walmart Supercenter in Lumberton)
  • The Clinic at Lumberton Drug (Fayetteville Road location)
  • Southeastern Health Mall Clinic (on the campus of Biggs Park Mall)
  • Southeastern Family Medicine Residency Clinic
  • Southeastern Urgent Care Pembroke

For a complete listing including hours, addresses and phone numbers, click here.