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Essentia Health offers advice for flu season

Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd is temporarily restricting visitors due to high levels of flu-like illness.

The hospital requests visitors be limited to immediate family. To protect patients and children in the community, the hospital requests children do not visit at this time.

The best way to protect yourself and your family against the flu is to get vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a flu vaccine for anyone who is 6 months old or older. It’s not too late to get your flu vaccine.

The CDC indicates that the strains of flu being seen this year are a good match to the strains in the vaccine. Some people who get the flu shot may still get the flu, but typically symptoms will be milder.

Kari Russell, registered nurse and infection preventionist at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center, said, “Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, your family and your community from the flu. Other precautions you should take include cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol based hand rubs, and do not go to work or school if you are sick.”

Pequot Lakes Schools substitute nurse Nancy Moritz said the district is experiencing the beginning stages of the flu.

“We’re seeing the symptoms, but we haven’t seen a large number,” she said. “There’s no need to report to the state. At this point we’re crossing our fingers.”

The state requires flu cases be reported if 5 percent of the school population is sick with flu.

Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms:

• The CDC recommends that you stay home for 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

• Essentia Health is encouraging the public not to visit patients in the hospital if they have a fever or cough.

• Flu vaccine is available at all of the Essentia Health Clinics.

To make a flu vaccination appointment, call your local Essentia Health Clinic or 218-828-2880. The cost of a flu vaccine is covered by Medicare Part B, Medicaid and most private insurance companies.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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