By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Lots of workplaces, including here at WCCO, are dealing with a late round of the flu. People are staying home trying to shake off all that comes with influenza.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says it’s seeing an uptick in the number of cases across the state. The illness can sneak up on you and take you by surprise.

“Body aches, fever, just very tired often you’ll have a cough, sore throat,” MDH epidemiologist Karen Martin said.

Symptoms that let you know a diagnosis of Influenza is not far behind. Many businesses are working shorthanded because the flu has people calling in sick to work. Here at WCCO, we were hit hard.

Employees retreated to their beds. Reporter John Lauritsen has been down three days, but says he is on the mend. Photojournalist Chris Cruz has the crud, and his dog Tula is helping nurse him back to health.

“Right now we’ve seen over 2,000 cases hospitalized so far for this season, which surpassed about the 1,500 we saw last season,” Martin said.

Martin says there is an uptick in flu cases this year. She says it may seem the virus is spreading later in the season but this uptick in cases is within the realm of normal.

“The average time for us to peak influenza activity is January thru March,” Martin said.

Martin says right now, Minnesotans are dealing with a different strain of the influenza virus.

“So far this season influenza A H3 has been the dominate strain but its changing now and were actually seeing an increase in Influenza B I would say right now that has flipped to be the dominate strain,” Martin said.

Martin says cases of Influenza A are going down, but Influenza B is on the rise, so what we are seeing is more of a sustained peak of activity — and if you haven’t had your flu shot, it’s not too late.

Doctors also recommend staying home when your sick so you don’t spread the germs, and make sure you wash your hands often.

Reg Chapman

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