EL PASO, Texas - The flu season is far from over, and the virus is not only taking a toll on the health of millions across the state. It's also impacting the medical professionals who are dealing with the influx of flu patients.
Monica Martell, a local registered nurse, was exposed to a patient with the flu virus and was out sick for almost a week.
Martell is also one of many nurses who have had to work double shifts to cover for fellow nurses who have come down with the flu.
"It has been hard. We go home late, we come in early or we work extra shifts. It takes a toll on us. We are fatigued, we are tired and we are stressed out. It has been hard this season," Martell told ABC-7.
Although it's stressful, she is more than happy to help.
"Our first concern is the patients. If there isn't enough nurses, and some of the nurses are out, then we have to pitch in."
Martell says that nurses are prepared for the flu season every single year by getting vaccinated, and the very few who choose not to get vaccinated are required to wear a face mask when dealing with sick patients.
Constant hand washing for the nurses is a must to keep from spreading the virus.
"We always have to wash our hands. That's our first defense. We also have alcohol right outside of the door to walk in and the alcohol to walk out," Marcell said.
Nurses strongly urge that patients always remember to wash their hands especially after they cough or sneeze.
"I think they also have to realize that the nurses are not the only ones that have to wash their hands. If everybody could wash their hands it would be a lot easier for us to handle this strong bug that we are dealing with."
This flu season has been extremely busy for nurses and all other medical professionals, but Martell says that she and her fellow nurses will always be there to help out their patients as well as each other.