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Flu Alert: where to go if you need medical help

Flu cases are increasing. Here's advice on who to go to, for medical help, and when (MGN Online)

The number of flu cases continues to go up, and in Onondaga County they're at a seasonal high: 270 lab-confirmed new cases, that's a 43 percent increase from the week before the latest county.

With more cases, it's expected more people will be looking for medical help, so here's the advice on who to see, when, from St. Joseph's/Trinity Health care provider Joseph Nicoletti:

Reach out to your doctor first. If you do not have a primary care provider, go to an urgent care facility. The Hospital Emergency Room schould be a last resort, and only when symptoms appear life threatening (very high fever, difficulty breathing). St. Joseph's Hospital has a 'different' ER check-in: you can do it on-line and pick your time, so you don't have to sit and wait there. It's on the hospital homepage.

To review, here are flu symptoms, courtesy the Centers for Disease Control:

Fever or feeling feverish/chills (though you can have flu without fever)
Cough
Sore throat
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Headaches
Fatigue (tiredness)
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

And here are the 'emergency warning signs' (CDC):
In children:
Fast breathing or trouble breathing
Bluish skin color
Not drinking enough fluids
Not waking up or not interacting
Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Fever with a rash
In adults:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
Sudden dizziness
Confusion
Severe or persistent vomiting
Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
In INFANTS, these symptoms require immediate attention:
Being unable to eat
Has trouble breathing
Has no tears when crying
Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal

For all, prevention includes getting enough rest, washing/cleaning hands regularly, sneezing/coughing into a sleeve & STAYING HOME if sick

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