Prairie du Chien, WI – As respiratory illnesses such as cold and the flu typically begin to rise this time of year, Crossing Rivers Health Clinics urge community members to contact their primary care provider if they become ill. “Since COVID-19 has a number of symptoms which are similar to influenza, pneumonia, and even strep, it’s important that folks be seen by their primary care provider,” said Maria Mathis, Director of the Crossing Rivers Health Clinics. “A visit with your provider ensures appropriate testing and proper diagnosis, and can help to confirm or rule out potential illnesses - including COVID.”
According to Matthew Snitker, DNP at Crossing Rivers Health Clinic, this year, getting the flu shot is more important than ever. “To make sure hospitals and clinics have enough resources for COVID-19 and other patients in need of care, we need to do everything we can to avoid a major flu outbreak as well.” Snitker added, “Besides getting your own vaccination, you'll want to protect your kiddos before the flu arrives. The best way to do this, is to make sure your child gets an influenza vaccine as soon as it's available.”
While the flu makes most everyone feel bad, Snitker warned that the flu can make kids even sicker than adults. “Children have the chance to become more ill from the flu than healthy adults due to their airways being smaller and being more susceptible to dehydration. Hence, the importance of having children receive the flu vaccine along with parents to help protect them from exposing their little ones.”
This is also why the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want all children, ages 6 months and older, to get a flu vaccine every single year. They recommend doing that by the end of October, to ensure children will be protected before the viruses that cause the flu start to spread in the fall.
Mathis noted that it continues to be safe to seek in-person care. “We are doing everything we can to prevent the spread of illness in our communities, including screening patients, visitors, and staff upon entry to all our facilities. Visitor restrictions and heightened infection control measures continue to ensure this is a safe place to receive care.”
While in-person care is safe, telehealth may be an alternative for those who qualify and prefer a virtual visit. Crossing Rivers Health offers virtual access to a number of healthcare services, including primary care, urgent care, and behavioral health. Patients should inquire with their provider to determine if a virtual visit is an option.
Mathis reiterated, “We feel strongly that, considering all of the illnesses that circulate this time of year, a comprehensive visit with your primary care provider will result in the best outcome.”
Free COVID-19 testing remains available at several area locations. As a courtesy, Crossing Rivers Health provides a listing of area testing sites, in addition to other helpful COVID-19 information available at www.crossingrivers.org/covid.