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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The flu is here and hitting Minnesotans hard! Last week, there were 144 flu-related hospitalizations across the state and that's up from 118 the week before. However, this upper respiratory illness isn't alone. It's got a sidekick that is knocking out even the toughest and putting children and the elderly at risk.

Dr. Amy Kolar, North Memorial, Emergency Department Medical Officer, joined KARE 11 News at 4:00 p.m. to talk about what families can do and when it's time to head to the emergency room.

Dr. Kolar says this second bug is a widely reported stomach flu or gastrointestinal virus known to last not one day, but several days. Patients have come to the Emergency Room at North Memorial Health Care with severe dehydration after days of vomiting and diarrhea. With the Upper Respiratory Flu comes a high fever, chills, coughing, loss of appetite, aches/pains and dizziness.

Dr. Kolar addresses what is the flu, when to treat at home, and when to come to the hospital.

Also, here are some North Memorial suggestions about coming to the hospital.

  • Reconsider visiting patients when you have cold or flu symptoms (including fever or cough)
  • If you are ill and must visit, please use a mask and practice hand hygiene

For Neonatal Intensive Care Units:

  • No visitors under the age of 2
  • Healthy siblings ages 2-14 may visit on admission and once a week thereafter (15 minutes)
  • Healthy siblings must wear a mask for duration of visit
  • Visitors who recently received the "FluMist" vaccine must wear a mask for seven days from date of vaccination.