GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Health is urging everyone who hasn't received a flu shot yet this season to get vaccinated ASAP.
"National Influenza Vaccination Awareness Week" is December 4 –10, 2016, and health officials say it’s a great opportunity for those six months of age and older to get their flu shot.
Influenza is an extremely contagious respiratory infection and can be life-threatening.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity typically peaks between December and February. MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said there has been minimal flu activity in the state, so far.
"That's why we're really encouraging people to take advantage of this current lull and get vaccinated," Ehresmann said.
At least one Twin Cities hospital has seen an uptick in flu cases. Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park saw their first flu cases of the season more than a month ago. Dr. Marny Benjamin, an emergency medicine physician, said those numbers have picked up in the past two weeks.
"We're starting to see an uptick in flu cases. As the cold weather comes, everybody goes inside and it tends to be transmitted more and it's the season for influenza," Dr. Benjamin said.
Flu shots are especially important for seniors, who are vulnerable and are at high risk for complications from the respiratory illness. In fact, there is a special vaccine formulated just for seniors. State health experts say vaccinations rates dropped for people 65 and older last flu season.
Most health insurance plans cover flu vaccines. Check with your provider or the Vaccine Clinic Look-Up on the state health department's website.