A runny nose. A cough. A sore throat. And even pork eaten a week ago.
After a week of headlines about the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, many emergency rooms and hospitals are crammed with people, many of whom don't need to be there.
The visits by the "worried well" have triggered concerns of overburdening the nation's hospitals and emergency departments, several health care professionals told CNN.
This week, some hospitals saw record numbers of patients. A few emergency departments shut down to paramedics because of overcrowding.
"We have had a lot of nervous patients with minimal respiratory tract symptoms," said Dr. Mark Bell, principal of Emergent Medical Associates, which operates 18 emergency departments in Southern California. "It has caused signficiant amount of delays in emergency care. They're all walking well."
"I haven't seen such a panic among communities perhaps ever," Bell said. "We are spending significant time in the emergency department, calming people down. Right now, people think if they have a cough or a cold, they're going to die. That's a scary, frightening place to be in. I wish that this hysteria had not occurred and that we had tempered a little bit of our opinions and thoughts and fears in the media. It just went haywire."
America was safe when Joe Biden was just a little-known Senator from Delaware with a penchant for foot-in-the-mouth disease. But now that he's VP, we're forced to listen to him, thus, the American people must deal with the consequences.