Peak of flu season has passed

By KBJR News 1

February 6, 2014 Updated Feb 6, 2014 at 6:09 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Flu season in the Northland has finally hit its peak, but physicians are still encouraging people to get flu shots.

The flu spike in the Northland is typically in January and February.

The peak of influenza in Minnesota occurred about two weeks ago, according to physicians at St. Luke's in Duluth.

But doctors in the Northland are urging those who haven't gotten flu shots yet to go out and do so, because as long as the flu is circulating the vaccine can protect you.

The H1N1 strain of influenza is what hit the nation hard this year.

However, in our region over the past two weeks the numbers have been dwindling which doctors' say is encouraging.

150 people were hospitalized in Minnesota last week, while the number of patients hospitalized for the flu this week was around 85.

Physicians say the epidemic is most dangerous among children and young-adults because most older adults have been exposed to this particular strain of flu in past years.

"There were similar strains of H1N1 back several decades ago. So those of us who are a little bit older have some immunity our bodies were able to call on. That's why this year H1N1 is affecting the younger individuals because it's a newer virus that hadn't circulated for quite a while," said Dr. Linda Van Etta, infectious disease specialist at St. Luke's in Duluth.

Flu infections are expected to be with us for about another month.

To limit your chances of getting sick make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, get enough sleep at night, and drink lots of water.

This year's flu season hasn't gotten as bad as last years.

Doctors say they aren't seeing the same severity of flu this year but they encourage all of us to follow their recommendations so it doesn't happen.

The experts say it's not too late to get vaccinated.

Elsa Robins
erobins@kbjr.com