MASON CITY, Iowa - Last year was a dangerous one for those battling influenza.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 80,000 people died from the flu last season, and more than 900,000 were hospitalized. In Iowa, nearly 3,000 people were hospitalized last season, and more than 6,000 in Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Health, slightly more Minnesota children received vaccinations for influenza during the 2017-18 flu season compared to the previous year.
The record breaking numbers emphasize the seriousness of influenza-related illnesses, and with another flu season on the way, health officials are encouraging people to take steps to protect themselves.
Deborah Fatland of Mason City got her shot at the Mason City Senior Center during a community walk-in clinic. She gets the vaccine every year, and expects her friends to largely do the same.
"Just get your flu shot....I get mine every year. I haven't really had the flu. I've had touches of it, but...it's not as bad because I've had the shot."
Jennifer Stiles with the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health says they have plenty of vaccine for the season, but says it's tough to tell exactly what this flu season could bring.
"We don't know when influenza's going to strike either. It can be something like last year where we saw an increase in numbers later on in the season, it could start up as early as right now."
And for those who may not like needles, Fatland says it's not bad.
"I don't worry about needles. Some people do, but I don't worry about needles."
If you're looking to get a vaccination, the Department of Public Health is offering a walk-in clinic weekdays at their office at Mohawk Square, and are offering extended hours on a limited basis, as well as various community clinics through the month of October.
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