MINNEAPOLIS - According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the number of people going to clinics with flu like symptoms is up from last year.
"We are seeing patients with flu-like symptoms," said Natalie Ikeman, a physician assistant, at the HCMC Golden Valley Clinic.
She says they have been seeing a lot of people sneezing and coughing.
"We are at 5.4% right now which is much higher than we saw in the peak season last year which was at 2.8%," said Karen Martin, an Epidemiologist for the Department of Health.
She says flu activity is widespread in at least 46 states including Minnesota.
So far this season she says 1,156 Minnesotans have been hospitalized with the flu and it's possible that number could surpass last year’s number of 1,541.
Martin says the dominant strains of the flu, like the H1 and H3 can change from year to year and it appears this season, we have a bad strain out there.
"This year it's a H3, last year it was a H1. So the difference with H3, we tend to see a somewhat more severe season,” said Martin.
Ikeman says those with weak immune systems like, the elderly, children under 5 and cancer patients should definitely get vaccinated and get to the doctor immediately if they have symptoms.
However, she is also encouraging everyone to get one too if you have not already.
"At least get the protection that we know is the best way to take care of our patients," said Ikeman.
According to the CDC, 34 children across the United States have died from complications due to the flu.
One of those deaths happened in Minnesota.