PHOENIX -- Arizona hospitals are reporting a spike in emergency room visits and longer hospitalizations related to the flu.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arizona is one of 20 states reporting high levels of flu-like illnesses and regional flu activity.
Maricopa Medical Center has seen a 20 percent increase in patients with respiratory illnesses and flu-like symptoms in the past two weeks. The hospital's pediatric emergency department alone is seeing three to four flu cases per day.
"It was really bad today," said Tiffany Feldkamp, who took her 2-year-old son, Eden, to the emergency room Thursday. "I thought he was going to stop breathing."
Feldkamp said Eden's symptoms started with a runny nose, followed by a fever, loss of appetite and fatigue.
The toddler was given an inhaler to use until his congestion clears up.
Hospitalizations for respiratory illnesses have also increased at area hospitals in recent days. Doctors say it is because this flu can lead to bacterial infections, including pneumonia.
Dr. Salil Pradhan, who works in Maricopa Medical Center's emergency department, said Arizona's flu season peaks in February.
Many hospitals are imposing visitor restrictions, and doctors are reminding people with flu-like symptoms to stay home.