ROCHESTER, Minn. - The peak of flu season is around the corner but the area is seeing a spike in cases right now.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports an increase in flu cases. Iowa is seeing "regional" flu activity while Minnesota is seeing "widespread" flu activity, the highest category on the scale.
Audra Rinard is a local pharmacist. She said the flu vaccination is the biggest defense against the illness. The flu is believed to be spread by coughing so there are a few other ways to keep it from spreading around an office or household.
"The best you can do with covering your cough, using hand sanitizer is a good method," she said.
She said an increase in activity is not surprising with these sub-zero temperatures.
"This time of year we're all trapped inside. So when it is spread, usually we're all just inside, the air isn't circulating like it normally does, so that's why we usually see a jump of cases in the winter," she said.
The CDC is recommending all hospitalized patients and high-risk patients fight the flu with antivirals.
"There is an antiviral they can perscribe if you're in your first 48 hours of symptoms. So that's really important for those with underlying conditions or the very young or the very old," Rinard said.
She said if someone has the flu, he or she should rest, drink lots of fluids, and use ibuprofen when needed.