• By Dana Sparks

Mayo Clinic Evaluating this Season's Flu Outbreak

January 10, 2013

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is set to release its latest flu count on Friday and the numbers are expected to jump, with influenza now reported in 41 states. Flu Shot Needles

Mayo Clinic continues to evaluate this season’s flu outbreak and has existing policies for patients, visitors and staff. At this time, Mayo Clinic in Rochester is not implementing additional visitor restrictions. However, we have implemented additional visitor restrictions at a number of our Mayo Clinic Health System locations. We will expand those restrictions to other Mayo Clinic locations if necessary. We encourage people to get vaccinated and for those who are sick, stay home to avoid exposing others.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What is the flu? Influenza is a respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus. Influenza symptoms can range from mild to severe, and, at times, influenza can lead to death. The most common symptoms are sudden onset of fever, headache, dry cough, runny nose and muscle aches.  
  • How is the virus spread? The most common way influenza virus is spread is from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Less often, a person might get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it, such as a doorknob, elevator button or grocery cart, and then touching his or her mouth or nose. To help prevent the spread of the virus, wash your hands frequently.  
  • Does hand washing really help? Yes. Hand washing is the single most important method of preventing the spread of infection. You can clean your hands using an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.  
  • How long is a person with the flu contagious? A person with influenza can infect others one day before symptoms begin to appear. Healthy adults are typically contagious for five to seven days. Children and persons with weakened immune systems may be able to infect others for longer periods. Some persons can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. These persons still can spread the virus to others. 
  • Is it too late to get the flu vaccine? No. We strongly encourage people to contact their health care provider and get vaccinated.


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