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Early signs of flu season surface in Minnesota, 2 hospitalized

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Minnesota's Department of Health has started up its weekly flu reports, noting Thursday that two people in the state were hospitalized with influenza-related illnesses in the week ending Oct. 12.

The good news in the early-season report: "Influenza activity remains low."

October traditionally heralds the start of the annual flu season, which can linger into May. Some hospitals and health officials this year have sought new strategies to battle the flu, including monitoring patients year-round for potential flu symptoms, the Star Tribune reported last summer.

Last winter, a severe flu strain hit the nation, but it's too early to predict if it might be another bad year, health officials say.

More children than ever were vaccinated against the flu last year, but health officials are prodding families to increase that rate this year. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said too many young and middle-aged adults still skip an annual flu shot.

Now is the time to get vaccinated – not after the flu hits your community, Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general for the CDC, said last month.

Nationwide, flu activity typically peaks in January and February. Here's more info to know about the 2013-2014 season from the CDC.

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