Respiratory Illnesses: What to Know and What to Do

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December 2, 2022

There’s a lot you can do to stay healthy – and to get care quickly when you are sick with a cold, flu or other respiratory infection. Information moves fast, and to cut through the noise, we’re bringing you some important information and useful tips for navigating this cold and flu season.


1.  You can check urgent care and emergency room wait times in advance.

Our urgent care and emergency room locations are experiencing a higher volume of visits during this cold and flu season. Check our estimated wait times at your nearest location to help you prepare for your visit, but please expect delays. Estimated wait time begins upon arrival at the urgent care or emergency room location, and we are unable to hold your place in line until your arrival at our location. Please note that due to high volumes, our urgent care locations may not be open to their full hours of operation.

Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you have a medical emergency.

Check wait times


2.  Visit a COVID-19 Test to Treat site for fast, easy treatment.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and you are not having serious symptoms (i.e. shortness of breath, chest pain or fever higher than 103 degrees), you can get treatment at a Test to Treat site. The Test to Treat program offers faster, easier access to lifesaving COVID-19 treatments to those who are eligible. Bring your positive COVID-19 test results or get tested at one of the thousands of Test to Treat locations across the country, and if you are eligible, you can get a prescription and have it filled—all in one location. Learn more about the Test to Treat program.

Find test to treat sites near you


3.  COVID-19 and influenza treatments are time sensitive.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and are at an increased risk to get very sick, treatments are available that can reduce your chances of hospitalization and death. Treatment for COVID-19 must be started within five days of the first signs of symptoms and/or positive test. View guidance from CDC on COVID-19 treatments and medications.

If you get sick with flu, influenza antiviral drugs may be a treatment option. Antiviral drugs work best when started early, and treatment for influenza should be started within two days of symptoms. View guidance from CDC on flu treatment.


4.  Get your flu shot.

Vaccination has been shown to be effective in reducing the incidence of influenza. Steps to prevent the flu are even more critical as we will face it alongside COVID-19, which can present similar symptoms and make diagnosis and treatment more difficult. Additionally, co-infection of both diseases is believed to increase the risk of serious complications. We can all take measures to protect ourselves and those around us from the flu.

Schedule vaccine appointment


5.  Consider a virtual doctor visit.

A virtual visit provides you with the care you need from virtually anywhere. Prescription refills, revisits and any concern that does not require an in-person exam or test are all great options for a virtual visit. It’s a convenient way to see your doctor from the safety of your own home, either via video or by phone. Phone and video visits can be scheduled in advance through MyChart, or contact us 24/7 at 763-581-CARE (2273).

Access MyChart


6.  Be a diligent handwasher.

One of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs is to keep your hands clean. Several diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands. Wash your hands often and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and clean, running water. Handwashing is particularly important after going to the restroom, coughing or sneezing, or when caring for someone at home who is sick.


7.  Wear a mask, especially if you are feeling sick.

Respiratory illnesses are spread by small droplets. Wearing a well-fitting mask will decrease the likelihood of transmitting illness to others. Immunocompromised or vulnerable populations should consider wearing a medical-grade mask to help prevent contracting a respiratory infection.

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