The numbers behind this winter's influenza epidemic can look really scary.
It's sickened thousands and killed at least 27 in Minnesota alone, including a 14-year old St. Louis Park high schooler who was first hospitalized on Christmas Day. To top it off, the flu strains being passed around this year are spreading even further and faster than in most years. All together, it can make you worry that the next person to sneeze on you at the grocery store could give you the bug.
It's the kind of worry that leaves you asking questions. How contagious is influenza? What can you do to steel yourself against the virus? How does a flu shot or an immune-boosting substance even work?
To answer all your queries, Patch has asked a team of experts to weigh in:
- Dr. Jane Kilian, a general practicioner at Roseville's Entira Family Clinic
- Michael Egan, a specialist in traditional Chinese medicine and owner of Performance Acupuncture in Minneapolis
- Christine Austin-Roehler, M.S., an Emergency Preparedness and Health Promotion Coordinator for Wright County Public Health. She is the agency Pubic Information Officer for public health emergencies and has worked with public health for more than 20 years.
- Catherine Main, a public health nurse for Wright County Human Services Public Health Department. Her primary role is disease prevention and control, currently focusing on prevention and control of influenza, tuberculosis and pertussis (whooping cough).
They will be on hand this week to share their expertise, so ask away!
(Note: The experts may not weigh in until late Tuesday morning. Post your questions and they will get to them as soon as they can.)