Over 1,000 hospitalized for flu in MN so far this season

The flu is widespread across Minnesota and experts note it's not letting up. The latest numbers out from the Minnesota Department of Health show the numbers have roughly doubled within a week.

“I started to feel sick Christmas day,” said Ashton Bell.

Bell is home from college at University of Wisconsin-Stout and has spent part of her holiday break fighting the flu. 

“The worst of it was sleeping on the bathroom floor,” she said.

Infectious disease specialist with Allina Health Doctor Frank Rhame says the latest numbers from MDH show influenza across Minnesota continues to be widespread and is intensifying. Hospital visitor restrictions are still in place.  

“It does not look like it’s peaked, we can say that,” said Dr. Rhame.

So far this flu season, 1,021 people have been hospitalized. Nearly 350 were hospitalized the last week of December alone. 

While reports show the flu vaccine is currently about 30 percent effective, Dr. Rhame believes by the end of the season that will increase.

“We are expecting it to be about 50 percent effective, which is not great, but certainly worth doing at that level,” said Dr. Rhame. “So far the tests that have been done look like the vaccine matches the strains that are around.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, those who fall victim to the flu include some or all of these symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue and possibly vomiting and diarrhea.

It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Still, Bell wishes she would have gotten the flu shot. It might not have stopped her from getting sick, but likely would have reduced her symptoms.