• Infectious Diseases A-Z: Flu season never really ends

microscopic image of the flu virus
A microscopic image of the flu virus. (Courtesy CDC)

Flu activity is beginning to slow down; however, it is not over. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says influenza rates across the U.S. remain elevated, though the CDC is seeing a decline in the number of illnesses. "We continue to see smaller outbreaks and school outbreaks, long-term nursing facility outbreaks, hospitalizations all the way through April and May in this state [Minnesota] and in many others," says Dr. Robert Jacobson, a pediatrician at Mayo Clinic.

Watch: Dr. Robert Jacobson discusses flu season.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites with Dr. Jacobson are in the downloads.

Dr. Jacobson says, "Some parts of the world, in fact, it’s an ongoing problem year-round. We know the flu never really goes away but just evolves each year into forms that overcome the immunity that we receive from previous cases."

A yearly vaccination remains the best way to help prevent the flu or reduce the intensity of its symptoms. Everyone over 6 months is urged to get a flu shot each season. Dr. Jacobson says there is good news for those who fear or struggle with the idea of a flu shot. FluMist, a child-friendly nasal spray vaccine, once again will be available in the 2018 – 2019 flu season.

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