Paramedic plan for potential swine flu victims

By Evan Johnson - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Whenever there's an emergency the first thing people do is call 911 and ask for an ambulance.  With the threat of a never-before-seen strain of swine flu, many may do the same thing if they experience flu-like symptoms. When dealing with these types of cases, paramedics have a set of procedures they follow to prevent the virus from spreading. The first thing they do is interview the person with the symptoms from at least six feet away.

Randy Favre, Director of the West Calcasieu-Cameron Hospital's EMS, says, "The nearest cases have been located around the San Antonio, Texas area so we make sure that when we interview people we go ahead and ask them if they've been exposed to or been to that area."

If paramedics suspect the patient has been infected with the swine flu virus, they then take precautions.

Steven Simon with Acadian Ambulance Service says, "We'll go ahead and take necessary measures as far as putting a face mask on the patient and ourselves as well, we'll notify the receiving hospital so they can setup isolation if needed, and we'll use standardized disinfectant protocol for our ambulances once the call is complete."

Due to the heightened awareness of the swine flu, emergency responders are asking people not to panic.  They say if you think you need medical attention call your doctor's office and not 911.  You should only call 911 if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Severe headaches not improved by Tylenol or Ibuprofen
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Continuous vomiting or diarrhea