By Andrea Lucia

NORTH TEXAS (CBS11) – A 911 dispatcher for MedStar, Sarah Chase keeps her desk stocked with hand sanitizer, Lysol spray and disinfectant wipes.

“You can get awfully sick awfully quick,” she said.

Working long hours in close quarters, she knows can be risky during the flu season, and it’s vital to keep the 911 center staffed.

It’s just as important for Chase to stay healthy for her newborn son at home.

“He was premature and we were in the hospital twelve days,” she said, holding up pictures of 2-month-old Cade. “He is my world.”

MedStar has seen flu-related calls spike from almost two a day in November to more than 21 a day so far in January.

“If we’re seeing 21 patients a day who are calling an ambulance for the flu, we can only imagine how many people are walking into clinics,” said Medstar spokesperson Matt Zavadsky.

Paramedics protect themselves with masks and gloves, and ambulances are being continuously cleaned.

At the end of each shift, they’re also sprayed with disinfectant, a precaution added during the Ebola scare three years ago, to kill off any viruses lingering in the air or in any crevice in ambulance.

It’s attention to detail they practice year round that they hope pays off during a flu season like this one.

“We’re making sure we’re doing it extra careful this time of year,” said Zavadsky.


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