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St. Francis Hospital gives flu, cold advice

ESCANABA — Cold and flu season is underway, and with it an increased volume of patients in the emergency room at OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group. Though the hospital has not yet needed to implement visitor restrictions, hospital officials recommend the following to ease wait times, get patients to the appropriate site for care and limit the spread of infection.

Calling your primary care provider is a good first step if you feel ill. Same-day appointments are available.

If your primary care provider is unavailable, the walk-in clinic is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and weekends from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit www.osfhealthcare.org/urgentcare to view wait times and reserve your place in line to limit wait time in the clinic.

“If you feel you are having an emergency, we absolutely want you to come to the emergency room. Especially patients with chronic diseases and those at a higher risk such as children, the elderly, and those who are vulnerable,” said Lacey Crabb, chief nursing officer and VP of patient care services. “But if your symptoms are less severe like a cough, body aches and fever, we have several other options for your care.”

In addition, Crabb offers these suggestions to stop the spread of germs and help you stay healthy:

– If you feel sick or have a fever, stay home. Get plenty of rest, drink lots of water and take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for aches, pains and fever.

– Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

– Cough or sneeze into your elbow to avoid getting germs on your hands and spreading them to others.

– Wear a mask while you are in the hospital or Medical Group if you are experiencing cold and flu symptoms, to prevent others from getting sick.

– If you haven’t received a flu shot this season, it’s not too late. The CDC recommends everyone six months and older be vaccinated. It takes approximately two weeks for the flu shot to become fully effective.

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