The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

December 28, 2012

Flu numbers higher than usual

MANKATO — Flu season is here.

“We have seen a significant increase in the number of people presenting with flu-like symptoms and a number of people hospitalized who are being treated for influenza,” said Kevin Burns, director of public affairs for Mayo Clinic Health System. “This is a bit unusual in terms of the numbers we’re seeing this early in the flu season.”

More than 500 people have been tested at Mankato Clinic’s locations in the region, and 38 percent tested positive for the flu, said Marcia Bahr, director of marketing and communication at the clinic. Because only people with flu-like symptoms were tested, this also shows that flu isn’t the only thing making people sick.

It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine, either in a nasal spray or shot. Burns said a new “interdermal” shot uses a much smaller needle that only goes skin-deep.

Bahr said people with flu symptoms should first schedule an appointment with their doctor, but many physicians are busy this week — or sick themselves — and are instead directing their patients to urgent care.

Burns agreed that urgent care is a good choice.

“Seeking assistance through urgent care rather than the emergency room could save you time and expense,” he said.

They also agree that sick adults or children should stay home from work or school, and that the healthy should take common-sense measures such as covering their mouth when they cough and using hand sanitizer.

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