January 11, 2018 12:58 PM
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, this marks the peak period of flu season.
Some who get ill elect to go to a doctor for diagnosis. But others, are choosing to stay home.
Virtuwell, a division of Health Partners, is one of the online diagnostic sites now seeing more sick people than ever. Since Jan. 1, online nurse practitioners have diagnosed more than 400 people with the flu across 12 states.
The process takes about five minutes and costs no more than $45. According to a Virtuwell spokesperson, January traffic is up about 50 percent this year compared to last.
"It's kind of like buying shoes at Zappos," Kris Johnson of Virtuwell said. "You create an account, you put your pharmacy and credit card in and you are done."
At eVisit, the online diagnostic service operated by Allina Health, activity was up 26 percent in November and December compared to the previous year.
Dr. Frank Rhame, an infectious disease specialist for Allina Health, said they have a team of triage nurse who screen flu patients by phone to determine if patients should come in or stay home.
"We want to take care of the people who need care," he said. "On the other hand, we don't want patients spreading the virus to other patients."
So far this season, more than 1,000 Minnesotans have been hospitalized with influenza.
Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue, according to the CDC. Here are some tips from the CDC on how to prevent and treat the virus:
Updated: January 11, 2018 12:58 PM
Created: January 10, 2018 06:54 PM
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