Cold and flu season is in full swing in Minnesota, and health officials say it’s unlikely to have peaked yet.
While there’s no cure for the common cold, director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group Dr. Gregory Poland says there are ways people can protect themselves from the germs that cause illness. “No. 1, stay away from sick people. Not always possible, but stay away,” he said, “Cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm. Ask others in a polite way to do the same so they don’t spread those germs. Don’t put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth. That’s a very, very common way that this is spread.”
He added that people should stay home if they’re sick and wash their hands frequently, especially when out in public, or use hand sanitizer.
Dr. Poland said staying healthy begins with being healthy and asked, “What better way to protect against complications of illness that getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising and get a flu vaccine?”
According to the state health department, the main flu strain circulating so far this season in Minnesota and the U.S. is influenza A. Flu seasons with H3N2 as the dominant strain have been associated with more hospitalizations and deaths in adults 65 years and older and young children compared to other age groups.