Flu Season Remains Strong Across the State and St. Cloud
ST. CLOUD -- Flu season remains high across the state and could get worse over the next month.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health there have been more than 100 new outbreaks of the virus in schools throughout Minnesota this week, bringing the total number of outbreaks this season at 226.
Laurie Crain is one of the co-lead nurses for District 742. She says they have seen a number of students of all ages stop by their office, and expect to see more.
"If you look at the influenza season historically, we tend to peak in January or February. There are some years we peak earlier which we have seen recently but the traffic is not unexpected at this point."
School nurses are not the only place seeing an increase in influenza patients. Joy Plamann is the Vice President of Acute Care Division for CentraCare Health. She says in December they had an increase of adult hospitalizations and clinic visits in young kids.
"We monitor hospitalizations for ages 65 and older and did see an increase which has tapered off. However, our clinics are experiencing a number of children with influenza like illness and confirmed cases as well."
Statistics from the Minnesota Department of Health show this year's flu season is the worst it has been since 2013-2014.
Jess Vos is a co-lead nurse for District 742. She says they stress the importance of hand hygiene at all ages levels during school hours.
"A lot of the younger grades start their day washing their hands before they do anything else in the classroom to help stop the spread of germs in general."
So far, the flu has killed more than 30 kids this season, including one in Minnesota.
Ellen Simonson is the Director of Infection Prevention and Control at CentraCare Health. She says to be aware of the warning signs and if your kid has a fever keep them home.
"It's tough for the parents to miss work and kids to miss school, but keeping kids home with a fever is very important."
Simonson says if you haven't gotten your flu shot to set up an appointment with your provider to help you prevent the severe strains of influenza spreading.