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Grand Forks area clinics see more cold, coughing but no flu

While flu season has yet to arrive in full force in the Grand Forks region, clinics are starting to see a lot of patients with typical wintertime diseases.

While flu season has yet to arrive in full force in the Grand Forks region, clinics are starting to see a lot of patients with typical wintertime diseases.

At Altru Clinic in Grand Forks, Nursing Supervisor Samantha Brekke said the staff has seen lots of upper respiratory diseases, such as coughing and strep throat, and some cases of stomach bugs.

She said there's been only one flu case so far that the clinic has seen.

At Riverview Health in Crookston, spokeswoman Stacey Bruggeman said hospital data shows that cold and flu symptoms are common, but not flu.

Brekke said clinic staff has been encouraging would-be patients not to come in unless they feel very ill. They might end up catching some other virus from other patients or infect healthy people in for a check-up, she said.

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WebMD, a popular medical website, says more of its users in Grand Forks County have used search terms related to cold and flu symptoms. Compared to other counties around the country, the website says Grand Forks is at a "moderate" level of infection. Neighboring Polk County was at a "mild" level. Most counties in the region are in that range except Nelson and Benson counties where the cold and flu level are considered "severe" and Kittson County where it's "moderate to severe."

Most of those cases likely were cold not flu because of the generally low level of flu cases reported in both North Dakota and Minnesota. As of last week, the North Dakota Department of Health reported 29 flu cases statewide. Its counterpart in Minnesota, which focuses more on hospitalization caused by flu, says there have been 22 statewide since the start of flu season. When flu season is in full force those numbers are in the hundreds or thousands.

On the Web: WebMD's stats are at bit.ly/1b468NU. North Dakota flu stats are at bit.ly/IzZq8d. Minnesota flu stats are at bit.ly/1c3uLHh.

Call Tran at (701) 780-1248; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1248; or send email to ttran@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: HEALTH
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