Coming flu season worries health watchers

There's reason to be concerned about the coming flu season, reports the online health newsletter Healthline.

For starters, Australia has already had its season, and it has been bad, producing a record number of cases in summer and autumn. The last bad flu season down under was in 2017. That was followed by an equally bad 2017-18 season in the U.S.

Cases are already being reported in the U.S., including at least one death. The victim was a 4-year-old boy in California who died last month after testing positive for influenza.

Regardless of predictions, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months old and older be vaccinated for the flu.

"Flu vaccine doesn't provide perfect protection, but it's the best tool we have," said Dr. Andrew Thompson of St. Luke's Infectious Disease Associates in a news release. "It's critical that everyone receive a vaccine before the flu starts circulating."

Flu shots are covered by almost all insurance plans and Medicare, the St. Luke's news release noted.

Health agency is 'breastfeeding friendly'

St. Louis County Public Health won a "breastfeeding friendly" award last year, and then stepped up its game this year.

The agency earned the award from the Minnesota Department of Health for the second straight year, according to a news release from the county. But its level was raised from "bronze" to "silver."

The award acknowledges the county health department is committed "to acting as a model for the community by supporting healthy families and receiving the business benefits of supporting nursing mothers," according to the news release.

Suicide awareness walk is Saturday

Carlton County's 11th annual "Suicide Awareness Memorial Walk" will take place from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Carlton High School, 405 School Ave., according to a news release from Carlton County Public Health and Human Services.

Last year, the event drew more than 200 walkers, according to the news release.

Neither a competition nor a fundraiser (the event is free), the walk part of the event will take most people about 20 minutes. That's followed by refreshments and a short message from two sisters who are survivors of their brother's death by suicide.

Participants are welcome to wear something with the name and/or picture of the person they are honoring. Information on suicide awareness and prevention will be available.

No registration is required.