According to the Bismarck Tribune, the flu bug is on the increase in the Bismarck-Mandan area.

Indeed, there are many people sniffling, coughing and hacking just in time for the holiday season. The N.D. Health Department has raised the level of flu activity to widespread.

According to the agency, there are a total of 234 cases of the flu, ending on December 16th. This is fairly early for this many cases to be reported in the state, and the cases will only increase as we get closer to the main months of the flu, which are January and February.

Last year at this time, there were a little more than 80 cases of the flu and in comparison, the flu was not considered widespread until January of 2017.

So far this season, over 40 people have been hospitalized for influenza and 2 reported flu deaths.

As a reminder, the health department suggests it is not too late to get the flu shot, keeping in mind, it takes about 2 weeks for the vaccination to take effect, and this years shot is only about 10% effective against this years flu strain.

You'll know if you have the flu as the symptoms are stuffy head, headache, body aches and fever. The full-blown bug can last as long as 10-15 days, if not longer.

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