Katherine Lockler had a lot to say on the topic of this year’s flu season in Northwest Florida. Some adored her message, others loathed it.
Flu-like symptoms in Escambia County are teetering on levels not experienced since the 2009-2010 flu season, when there was a major Swine Flue outbreak. One local nurse has gotten so frustrated with the way some people have handled the abnormally harsh season that she recorded a video from her car after a long day of work to vent.
“Please don’t bring your healthy children — especially your newborn babies — into the emergency room,” said Milton resident Katherine Lockler in the video, which has been shared almost 11,000 times since Saturday. “And if you don’t have what I call a true emergency, this would not be a time to come to the emergency room.”
Lockler, who works at multiple emergency rooms in the Northwest Florida area, said she sat down in her car after a 12-hour shift at work on Saturday with the intent to send a message from a health care professional’s perspective.
“The biggest problem for me was seeing people come in to visit and not only being exposed to this awful flu virus, but not taking the correct precautions to get themselves disinfected before going out in the world,” Lockler said.
0112618-flu-activity_Online (Photo: USA TODAY)
In a phone interview on Wednesday, Lockler, who said she’s professionally taken care of people for almost 18 years, used a real-life example to highlight some of the carelessness she said she’s seen this flu season.
“I saw a dad with a toddler crawling on the floor in the emergency room and I approached him and I said, ‘Hey dad, I do not feel that that’s a wise decision, your child is being exposed to some really nasty germs on this emergency room floor,'” Lockler said. “And instead of the dad receiving what a nurse of 10 years is sharing with him, he said, ‘Eh, it’s no big deal, it’ll build his immune system.’ So there’s a lack of understanding and a lack of interest in knowing what to do to protect themselves sometimes.”
The video on Facebook has been viewed more than 700,000 times and “liked” more than 2,200 times as of Wednesday afternoon. Lockler said she believes the post took off when some people in her field of work shared the video.
As is the case with most viral Internet videos, Lockler’s recording, titled “After Work Thoughts,” was received positively and negatively. The responses ranged from one man asking Lockler to marry her, to a woman proclaiming that “with an attitude like that, (Lockler) should be in a morgue.”
Part of what’s made the nearly seven-minute-long video so polarizing was the sarcastic inflection and animated facial expressions and gestures Lockler used at times to get her point across.
More: Flu symptoms more severe — and prevalent — than past years in Northwest Florida
“Watch this, I’m gonna teach y’all a magic trick, it’s amazing!” Lockler said, before pretending to sneeze into her arm as a demonstration on how to limit the spreading of germs.
“Let me show you again in slow motion!” she said, before doing it one more time.
A mother of four, Lockler admitted that her tone in the video came off a bit like a mother talking to her young kids, but she did not mean to undermine anyone’s intelligence in the video.
“I think there’s a little bit of sarcasm in my voice because the instructions were given so many times and they were not received well,” Lockler said. “I tend to be sarcastic in all my speaking, but if it’s taken wrong I would definitely apologize to that group that misheard my message because of my tone. The message is still right on the money, but if the tone was offensive, that was not the intention.”
Jake Newby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-435-8538.
This year’s flu season is a particularly bad one, and perhaps you are dismayed to hear that some people have gotten the flu vaccine and still came down with the flu. (This happens every year, but it seems more real when it happens to you or somebody you know.) But the flu vaccine is still working. Here’s what you need… Read more…
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