ST. CLOUD -- It's been a busy start to the flu season. The state Department of Health has confirmed eighth deaths and nearly 300 school outbreaks due to influenza.

With classes back in session, health officials expect an increase in flu activity as we approach the peak of flu season.

Blair Headley is the Nursing Supervisor for Pediatrics with CentraCare Health. She says schools are a target for the virus because of the number of kids and the different surfaces it can live on.

So depending on the type of surface, it can last a few minutes to up to 24 hours. That's why as soon as it starts in schools there is a high volume of kids out.

Headley says it's hard to control the spread of flu, especially in young kids, as they may not show signs of being sick.

If you have a two-year old that doesn't understand being sick, it does make it difficult. So controlling the spread brings another level of difficulty because there is so many different varabilities.

She says it's important to remind your kids about good hand hygiene and if they show signs of being sick to keep them home.



Headley says anytime a kid has a fever, that's a sign of an active infection and more likely to spread and illness.

She also says there is still time to get your flu shot as flu activity can last until April.

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