Flu season is coming early in parts of the United States, including Minnesota, and some of the cases have involved severe illnesses.
This time last year, flu cases were lower in Minnesota than they are now, according to data on Google's Flu Trends. (Oakdale-specific data is not available on Flu Trends, but flu cases in the Twin Cities metro are in line with the state as a whole.)
Overall in Minnesota, activity is categorized as "high," while it was categorized as "low" at this time in 2011, according to Flu Trends.
And not only is the flu season starting earlier than usual, some of the illnesses in Minnesota are severe.
The Minnesota Department of Public Health reports that for this 2012-2013 season, 30 people have been hospitalized with laboratory confirmed influenza. Eight people were put into care last week alone, with four cases of Influenza A, and a single confirmed case of the B virus.
If you're considering getting a flu shot, here are some places in Oakdale that offer the vaccine:
HealthEast Oakdale Clinic
According to this week's CDC Flu activity report, influenza levels are on the increase not just in Minnesota but across the country.
Five states – Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee – are reporting flu rates not normally seen until January, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The flu season normally peaks in January and February.
Holiday travel and more time spent indoors due to soggy weather will contribute to the spread of the flu virus, so now is the time to get vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following information: