Flu Season Hitting Its Peak
Flu season is well underway in Minnesota and across the country, but while this season is mild compared to past seasons, you should still take measures of prevention, especially those who are most vulnerable to the virus.
“Influenza covers the gambit of who could be affected,” Dr. Rebecca Holcomb, emergency room director at Essentia Health – St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd, said. “But it is the oldest and youngest members of our society that are more severely impacted.”
Doctor Holcomb says she has seen an uptick in younger children in the emergency room this year with the typical flu symptoms of runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and fever. But there are a few other symptoms to watch out for that could warrant a trip to the emergency room.
“From a standpoint of who we want to see, obviously people that are having difficulty breathing, people that are showing sign of dehydration, because nausea and vomiting and loss of appetite and desire for food and fluid could be important,” Holcomb said.
Doctors say that you can prevent from getting the flu by washing your hands and covering your mouth and nose. But the best way to avoid catching the flu, they say, is getting your flu shot.
“Well the best thing you can do is to get your flu vaccine,” Dr. Kari Russell, infection prevention specialist at Essentia Health, said. “It’s not one-hundred percent perfect, but it’s the best line of defense out there. And you get it not only for yourself, but also for those others in the community that may be more compromised. So we can get our flu vaccine to help prevent flu in the very young and very old.”
Flu season typically runs from October through may, but experts say its never too late to get your flu shot.
Last flu season, the Essentia Health Network say there were 12 people hospitalized and 340 positive tests for influenza. So far this flu season, nine people have been hospitalized and there have been 130 positive influenza tests.