Mayo Clinic doctor stresses importance of flu vaccine - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Mayo Clinic doctor stresses importance of flu vaccine

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

The Minnesota Department of Health released a report on Thursday on the increase of flu activity throughout the state.

Friday afternoon, we spoke with a health professional at Mayo Clinic about the importance of getting the flu vaccine.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health's report released on Thursday flu season is in full swing, and can indeed continue to increase in activity.

In fact, Dr. Jacobson, a primary care physician and professor of pediatrics at Mayo Clinic, said in the last two weeks alone, there were 50 hospitalized patients in Minnesota from the flu.

This means flu season is off to an early start, which doesn't necessarily mean it will also end early.

Here in Minnesota, given the nature of the seasonal calendar, the flu season can go as long as June.

With that long flu season span and different strains of the disease, there can be multiple peaks.

Dr. Jacobson is concerned, however, by the strain that seems to be circulating this year.

"The one that we worry the most about this year is H3N2. About 2-3 years ago we had a big H3N2 season and we lost 10 children in Minnesota to that disease. And the overwhelming majority of those 10 didn't have any other underlying illness or disease," explained Dr. Jacobson of the seriousness of the disease.

"H3N2 kills. It hospitalizes. It puts people in their doctors offices. It takes people home from work. And um, that's the one that's circulating now," Dr. Jacobson added.

Dr. Jacobson said the number one way to prevent getting the flu is by getting the vaccine, something he believes only about 40 percent of people in the state have gotten.

He stressed that every single person ages 6 months and older should get the flu shot to protect not only themselves, but also those around them.

“Those people who think they can get through the flu without a vaccine are doing themselves and their loved ones a disservice. You may get sick with the flu and not feel sick enough to even take off time from work, but you're exposing your co-workers, your family members, an others to a disease that they might not do so well with, and they could've really depended on you to prevent them from getting it,” said Dr. Jacobson. 

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