St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Minnesota's flu season has begun.
The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed the first two cases of influenza for the 2012-2013 season.
Health officials confirm that a 25 year old Olmsted County woman and a 12 year old Hennepin County child tested positive for different strains of the flu.
Neither of the cases was hospitalized.
Flu season in Minnesota typically occurs from October to April, but cases can occur sporadically throughout the year.
Flu shots are now being recommended for everyone six months and older. The flu vaccine is especially important for pregnant woman, seniors, young children and those with chronic medical conditions.
For those who don’t like shots, a nasal spray is available for healthy people ages 2 through 49. There is also a new product that uses a very small needle to inject the vaccine into the skin layers only.
The symptoms of influenza, which tend to come on suddenly, can include a sore throat, coughing, fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. People who become severely ill with influenza-like symptoms should see a physician.
During flu season, besides getting vaccinated, there are other steps people can take to avoid spreading or catching influenza:
• Do your best to stay healthy. Get plenty of rest, physical activity and healthy eating.
• Stay home from school or work if you have a respiratory infection. Avoid exposing yourself to others who are sick with flu-like illness.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue whenever you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
• Clean surfaces you touch frequently, such as doorknobs, water faucets, refrigerator handles and telephones.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
Posted to the web by Krista Burns