Minnesota is in the middle of a difficult flu season, and if you haven't already gotten a flu shot, now is the time to do so.
"Even though the flu vaccine wasn't as effective as we'd hoped this year, just getting the vaccine in general, it won't prevent you from getting the flu, but it does decrease the severity of the symptoms and the duration of the disease itself," said Dr. David Clay, an OBGYN from Clinic Sofia in Maple Grove.
The Minnesota Department of Health says the flu season could last through April and beyond, so they're urging people to get vaccinated now.
State health officials released a report this week showing a continued increase in flu activity across Minnesota. As of Jan. 6, there have been 1,765 flu-related hospitalizations in the state and one pediatric death.
Experts advise people to see their doctor right away if they show symptoms of the flu.
"So usually we encourage patients, 'okay well if you know that you've been exposed, if you don't show any symptoms and you don't catch it, great," Dr. Clay said. "But if you start to show symptoms and you start to feel ill, then come in sooner rather than later so we can test, because if you have the flu and we start you on Tamiflu, that medication is very good at more abruptly shortening the duration of the flu."
The circulating strain, known as H3N2, is considered as one of the more severe strains, especially for the elderly and young children.
Jan. 12, 2018