(Minot, ND) Influenza activity is on the rise nationwide and North Dakota is no exception. According to the North Dakota Department of Health, there have been 271 confirmed influenza cases as of January 7, an increase of 44 percent in just one week. That doesn’t include people who have not gone to the doctor or been tested for the flu.
Trinity Health has only diagnosed five cases of influenza this flu season; however, that number is expected to climb in the coming weeks. ‘Flu season typically peaks between December and March,’ said Sue Niebuhr, infection prevention and control coordinator at Trinity Health, ‘We anticipate the number of influenza cases we diagnose to increase significantly.’
According to Niebuhr, the best line of defense is still the flu vaccination. ‘It is not too late to get the flu shot,’ she said. ‘With three months left of the season, it is still highly encouraged.’
The CDC recommends the flu vaccine for anyone six months of age and older, especially for those at higher risk for severe flu-related complications, like young children and people over 65, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions. The North Dakota Department of Health says that so far the vaccine is well matched to circulating strains and that there is plenty of vaccine available.
In addition to the flu shot, other prevention methods include washing your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and staying home when you are ill.
To get a flu shot at Trinity Health, patients can go to their primary care provider or one of three convenient locations: Convenient Care Clinic located at Health Center-Medical Arts, 400 Burdick Expressway East; Health Center-Town & Country, Suite 104, 1015 South Broadway; and Trinity Health South Ridge, 1500 24th Ave SW. Parents of children under the age of three are advised to make an appointment with their pediatrician.
For more information on the flu and flu shot availability at Trinity Health, visit www.trinityhealth.org/influenza.