WAUWATOSA — It seems we all know someone heading to the doctor lately.
Hospitals and clinics are staying busy, just as new data shows an early spike in flu numbers here in Wisconsin.
Children's Wisconsin reports their emergency department had a record number of visits in December.
"The last word I got was that it was somewhere around 8,500 which is about 20 percent more than the next busiest month we’ve had in the past," said Dr. Ryan Scheper who works in the Children's Wisconsin ER.
"We’ve been seeing a ton of flu lately. It’s a lot of fevers, respiratory illnesses, kids with cough and cold symptoms that are just feeling miserable," said Scheper.
He says around this time last year they had approximately 50 confirmed cases of flu. This year that number is close to 1,000.
Visits to the ER have slowed down since the new year started, but as kids go back to school and adults go back to work germs get spread more easily.
"It’s probably going to pick back up, and I expect there’s gonna be plenty of kids sick with more of the same cough and cold symptoms since we’ve been starting to see flu," said Scheper.
It is not just Children's Wisconsin that has been busy. We saw constant traffic at Aurora's Urgent Care Clinic in Menomonee Falls.
According to their website, wait times at the clinic fluctuated during the day from about an hour to nearly 4 hours. At Aurora's urgent care clinic in Racine, wait times reached as high as 5.5 hours Monday.
This all comes just as new data showed a spike in flu-related hospitalizations throughout Wisconsin. The data also revealed 11 deaths tied to flu complications.
Scheper says January and February are typically tough for families. He encourages parents to keep an eye on their kid's symptoms, practice good hygiene like hand washing and covering your mouth, and to keep in close contact with their doctors.