According to Julie Ashton, PHN at Brown County Public Health says that significant increases in flu activity in the U.S. in the past month indicate that an early flu season is underway.
Since the start of the influenza season, no influenza-related deaths have been reported in Minnesota, however more than 70 people have been hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza and 18 outbreaks of influenza-like illness (ILI) in Minnesota schools have been reported.
How can you prevent the flu?
“Getting a flu shot is one of the most effective ways each of us can avoid getting the flu and spreading the illness to others,” said Ashton.
Officials remind the public, in addition to getting the seasonal flu vaccine; there are other steps everyone can take to prevent contracting and spreading the flu. They include:
- Cover your cough
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
- If you aren’t feeling well, stay home
- If your children are ill, keep them at home
- Get vaccinated
The seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza (flu) viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
The signs and symptoms of the seasonal flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
“Getting a flu shot is one of the most effective ways each of us can avoid getting the flu and spreading the illness to others,” said Ashton. “Supplies of the flu vaccine are plentiful and readily available from your local health care provider, local public health or other consumer outlets, including many pharmacies.”