MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fewer Minnesotans are getting sick with the flu.
On Thursday, the CDC downgraded the flu in Minnesota from widespread to regional. The worse cases of the flu are in the metro and central Minnesota.
The Department of Health said 21 people were hospitalized with the flu this week. That’s down from 80 last week.
There was a small uptick in school outbreaks, which were recorded at 11. That’s up from seven the week before.
The flu can be particularly dangerous for the elderly and young kids.
This winter, thousands of kindergartners as well as first-and second-graders are learning how to prevent the spread of germs. Lauren Cumming, with the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics, teaches them in their classrooms.
“We talk about washing our hands, we talk about catching our sneezes with the vampire sneeze and not sharing food and drinks…just easy things to prevent it,” she said.
A grant from the Kohl’s Cares Flu Prevention Project created Cumming’s position. She goes into classrooms like those at Diamond Path Elementary in Apple Valley.
“I really do think that it’s impactful, because I am not their regular teacher or a parent, they are hearing it from someone else,” she said. “And the program is engaging, we do activities.”
She has the kids apply a glow lotion to their hands and then takes a look at them under a black light.
Next they go wash their hands with soap and water.
A second look under the black light reveals who did a good job and who didn’t. If their hands and fingers still look blue, they know they’ve got some work to do.
Gillian Rasmussen, a second grader, said the lesson was helpful because she learned how to better keep her teachers and classmates healthy.
Cumming has already worked with about 3,000 students this winter.
For more information on how to help kids battle the flu, click here.