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State Health Officials: Get your shots, the flu is spreading in MN

Flu season can last through April, so it's not too late to get vaccinated.

State health officials are urging people to get their flu shots, if you haven't already.

The Minnesota Department of Health says flu season can last through April, so it's not too late to get vaccinated.

In fact, there have been more flu outbreaks in Minnesota and the rest of the country lately. Experts expect to see even more cases in the coming weeks.

So everyone – except infants under 6 months – is advised to get the shot. However, data released in November revealed that only 40 percent of Americans got their annual flu vaccine.

“The more people who are vaccinated, the more protection we’ll have in the community to slow or stop the spread," said Kris Ehresmann, with the Minnesota Department of Health. "Especially to those at high risk for complications from flu."

Recent outbreaks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report, which you can find here.

It includes a map that shows about how many flu-like cases are reported in each state. In the most recent report, Minnesota was classified as having "moderate" flu activity. Meanwhile, Wisconsin was classified as having "minimal."

Even so, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services recently sent out a news release urging residents to get their shots because flu cases are on the rise there, too.

About the flu

The Department of Health says the main flu strain circulating this season is influenza A (H3N2).

Most people who get sick feel better in a few days to less than two weeks. However, health officials warn the flu can be a serious and even life-threatening illness.

People older than 65, young children, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions are at particularly high risk for complications from the flu.

Flu symptoms can include a sore throat, coughing, fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. If you get sick and are wondering when you should seek medical care, click here.

And you can find a flu vaccine clinic near you here.

This year, the nasal spray vaccine is not recommended because it hasn't been very effective.

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