Cold and flu symptoms keeping paramedics busy

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HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WDTN) – With slick sidewalks and flu cases on the rise in the Miami Valley, local paramedics are staying busy in the bitter cold.

“At my house, we all have a head cold, so we’re trying to fight that off,” said Moraine resident Vetta Wagerman.

It’s not just the cold that’s going around now, but also the flu. Those cold and flu-like symptoms are keeping paramedics like John Hildebrand in Huber Heights busy.

“In the emergency room, I worked the other night, and we had 70, maybe 80 percent of the patients who were coming in the door were reporting cold, flu-like symptoms,” Hildebrand said.

He and other first responders wear doctor’s masks or put them on patients for some calls, he said.

With icy sidewalks, paramedics are also getting many calls for slips and falls, Hildebrand said. That means first responders are also being careful to avoid slipping and falling themselves, he added.

“Taking the cot in or the stretcher up to the door with snow and stuff, it tends to be a little bit of a hazard for us,” he said. “And rolling those cots on the dry pavement is a little bit different than pushing it through the snow with a patient on it.”

Symptoms of illnesses and diseases often get worse in extremely cold weather, Hildebrand said, which is why he says it’s important to stay inside if you’re sick.

“Stay home and try to stay away from people as much as possible,” he said. “If you do have to go into work…you could wear a doctor’s mask.”

For people like Vetta Wagerman, keeping out of the cold has been the best treatment.

“Trying to stay in as much as possible,” she said.

Despite the cold temperatures, paramedics in Huber Heights have not seen many cases of frostbite recently, which hopefully means people are bundling up or staying inside, Hildebrand said.

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