Most of the fluid filled bags used in US hospitals and clinics are produced in Puerto Rico.
Baxter Puerto Rico, a medical company, was heavily damaged in the extreme weather event; moreover, it is responsible for supplying the majority of hospitals in the US, including some here in Alaska, with IV product.
"We continue to deal with shortages by working with team members to change practices and prescribing habits that in turn help to preserve the products that we have for those who clinically have no other alternatives", Dr.
Texas Health Resources, which operates Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton, did not return calls for comment.
"A lot of people are getting flu A or flu B, and of course you have to treat a lot of them are dehydrated so a lot of treatment with IV therapies right now", explained Brian Casey, the manager of Family Medical Walk-In Clinics.
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But finding those other suppliers could become more hard.
Thompson said Freeman does the same and, like other hospitals across the country, has been more careful to use IV fluids only when necessary.
"The small bags disappeared and we accommodated for that by making things ourselves and doing conservation techniques", said Britton.
Diaz is traveling as a chaperone and carrying with her supplies and educational materials - things like solar-powered lamps, microscopes, biology kits, books and rechargeable flashlights.
The Tennessee Department of Health has recorded four flu-related deaths in the state during the 2017-2018 flu season.
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"We have seen an increase in the number of flu cases compared to previous year".
The potential for a high demand of IV supplies still exists.
Quinones, 21, a St. Bernard School graduate and senior at Quinnipiac, said she was excited and "a little less nervous" to go back, having visited Puerto Rico just last week to attend the funeral of her grandfather.
"This is nothing new for us", Thompson said.
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