ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton and Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger today urged Minnesotans to take precautions to prevent the spread of influenza in Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Minnesota is currently experiencing one of the worst influenza seasons in recent memory, with 359 people hospitalized since October.
“I urge Minnesotans to be vigilant, and take all necessary precautions to protect themselves, their children, and their loved ones from the threat of influenza,” said Governor Dayton. “We are taking this threat very seriously, and will continue doing everything possible to prevent the further spread of this illness in our classrooms and communities.”
“Influenza can be a serious, life threatening illness for people of all ages,” said Commissioner Ehlinger. “Every year in Minnesota we see serious illness and scores of deaths from influenza. This year’s strain of influenza appears to be causing more severe illness than in the recent past. It’s important that all Minnesotans take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones and prevent the spread of influenza.”
Preventing the Spread of Influenza
Governor Dayton and Commissioner Ehlinger today offered the following information and guidelines to Minnesotans today on preventing the spread of influenza in Minnesota.
· Get Your Flu Shot – The best way to prevent influenza is to get a flu shot – and it is not too late; the influenza season typically lasts through the month of April in Minnesota. The Department of Health offers this simple online tool Minnesotans can use to find a clinic in their area to obtain a flu shot. Influenza vaccinations also may be given at other locations and times not listed on the vaccine finder tool. Check with your physician’s office or regular walk-in clinic about getting vaccinated against the flu.
· Stay Home – Stay home from work or school if you are sick. Avoid exposing yourself to others who are sick with flu-like illness.
· Cover Your Cough – Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue whenever you cough or sneeze. Then, throw the tissue away. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
· Keep Clean – Clean surfaces you touch frequently, such as door handles, water faucets, refrigerator handles, and telephones.
· Wash Your Hands – Wash your hands often with soap and water, or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
· Rest and Exercise – Get plenty of rest, physical activity, and eat healthy to stay healthy.
The symptoms of influenza, which tend to come on suddenly, can include a sore throat, coughing, fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. People who become severely ill with influenza-like symptoms should see a physician.
For more information about influenza, and how to prevent the spread of the flu in your home, workplace, school, or community, visit the Minnesota Department of health website at www.mdhflu.com.