MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The holidays were tough for many Minnesotans because of a spike in the flu.
New numbers from the Minnesota Department of Health show 505 people have been hospitalized with flu symptoms this season — 117 of them just in the past week. Additionally, one more person has reportedly died because of the flu, bring the season’s total number of fatalities to eight.
And those numbers are concerning doctors.
While the winter thus far has been mild, flu season has been aggressive. Maplewood resident Luz Ingram, who has three children and is expecting her fourth, isn’t taking chances.
“My kids school, they’ve had some kids who have been missing school for the whole week because they’ve been getting sick,” Ingram said.
Dr. Krishnan Subrahmanian of Hennepin Healthcare hospital says that’s exactly what he’s seeing sick kids and adults.
“Unfortunately at the hospital right now, unfortunately we have a lot of people who have flu and flu-related illnesses. So kids and adults who are getting quite ill, unable to remain hydrated, having pneumonia, having complications of flu,” Subrahmanian said.
He says he is seeing all strains, but Influenza B is dominant — and it’s ahead of schedule.
“We just know that Flu B will hang out in kids and often time hang out later in the season. It’s peculiar to see Influenza B so prominent this early in the season,” he said.
Dr. Subrahmanian says it is not too late to join the Ingram family and get vaccinated, because it’s a shot worth taking.
“While it may not 100% protect you from getting the flu, it can prevent you from coming to the hospital or the ICU, and that’s what we want to do is keep people out of the hospital and at home,” he said.
Another reason doctors say to get the vaccine is it’s possible to contract several different strains of the flu during the same season.