ST. CLOUD (WJON News) - Area hospitals and clinics are seeing an influx of influenza, RSV and other respiratory illness to begin the winter season.

CentraCare says their urgent care and emergency rooms are seeing longer than usual wait times due to this surge of seasonal illnesses.

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Spokesman Dr. George Morris says both influenza and RSV cases are beginning earlier than in years past, which is causing a perfect storm for seasonal illnesses.

Our concern now is how we have influenza, RSV and COVID all climbing together. What we are not sure is if we can, as a community and individually, change our behaviors to slow down the pace of this surge.

Morris says before making that visit to the ER, consider reaching out to your provider in other ways.

We want people to try and use MyChart, phone calls or virtual visits and save the ER and Urgent Care for the people who have prolonged fevers, respiratory problems and other illnesses. We want the ER and Urgent Care to be there for someone who slipped and fall on the ice, or other injuries where we know those facilities are the only option for people.

Morris says because there isn't any medication you can take for a viral illness, most often mild symptoms can be treated at home with rest and fluids.

He says for patients with prolonged high fevers or trouble breathing, that's when you should make an urgent care or ER visit.

Morris says this is a good remind to continue to practice good hand hygiene and to stay home when you're sick.


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