Influenza’s effect on children across North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. - Across the nation, this year the flu season has come in stronger than usual.

Bismarck Burleigh Public Health says they have had more cases now than they did this time last year, with two months left of the season.

According to the North Dakota Department of Health, this year we have had 4,161 cases so far, affecting 1,411 children.

In Burleigh County, there are 520 flu cases where 168 of those cases involved kids.

The total number of cases in the state last year at the end of flu season was 7,507, of which 3,182 were children.

Whether in gym class or around school, children are constantly exposed to germs.

"Getting your flu vaccine is key, really good hand washing, avoid touching your T-Zone, that's your main entry point for viruses," said Kate Gartner, Bismarck Public School nurse coordinator.

Donna Schmidt is a substitute teacher and a grandma. She got her flu shot this week to stay healthy for herself and the children around her.

"We just want to be really careful in regard to children staying well," said Schmidt.

Renae Moch with Bismarck Burleigh Public Health, says they have taken a device to schools to show kids how germs latch onto our hands.

She says washing your hands is vital, especially this time of year.

"I think one of the things that makes this year a little bit different than last year is it's peaking earlier so we're seeing more cases right now, which is causing a lot of awareness amongst the community and nationwide,” said Moch.

Gartner says if your child does have a fever, then you have to wait 24 hours after their fever is gone to take them back to school.

Bismarck Burleigh Public Health says it's not too late to get your flu shots.