Minnesota sees fewer flu hospitalizations, deaths

By this time last year, three young people had died of the flu, hundreds of Minnesota schools were fighting outbreaks and we had a flu shot that didn't work as well as we had hoped. However, this year is a much different story.

As of now, only 38 people have had to be hospitalized for the flu, compared 500 people at this time last year. 

“What we're seeing circulating matches what's included in the influenza vaccine this year. So that bodes well for protection and coverage,” Kris Ehresmann, director infectious disease for the Minnesota Department of Health says.

But the experts are warning people not to ease up on preventive efforts.  Last year, the flu outbreak slammed us in December and again in March, ending with an astounding 4,000 people hospitalized.

That nightmare could repeat itself, as experts say it is possible that flu season in Minnesota has not peaked yet.

“We have to keep in mind that influenzea goes from October through May. So the fact that it's been slow up to this point doesn't necessarily mean that we may not see a lot more disease in January, February, [and] March,” Ehresmann says.

There are several things you can do to prevent the flu, wash your hands, sneeze in your sleeve, eat well and exercise and of course, get your flu shot.  This year -- it works.