Regional
10:40 am
Fri October 9, 2009

Flu Bogs Down Health System

New Mexico – Healthy people worried about swine flu and people with mild, flulike illnesses are showing up at emergency rooms and clinics, bogging down New Mexico's health system.

Deputy state epidemiologist Mike Landen says people with no symptoms are asking for antiviral medications when there's no need.

Landen says health officials also don't want well people getting infected at clinics by people who are ill.

As for people with typical mild flu symptoms who are not at risk for complications: Landen says they should stay home and they don't need medical care unless their symptoms become more severe.

More than 10 percent of visits to health care providers in the state this week have been for flulike illnesses.

That compares to 3 percent during the peak of flu season in March.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.