NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — The winter weather is taking us by storm, and if we’re not careful, winter sicknesses might too.

According to the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services, influenza cases around the state remain low, but they are starting to pick up.

Rebecca Flanagan with Essentia Health says they really don’t know what our state will be seeing for case numbers this year — because we usually base predictions off of Australia — but they’re still wearing masks down under.

So, with all this uncertainty, she says this is a good time to remind people of ways to keep healthy.

“Making sure that you’re washing your hands, making sure that you’re covering your cough, covering your sneezes, disposing of your tissues right away, cleaning your areas, good old soap and water, that’s one of the best things that you can do to get that friction going and prevent that spread of the cough, cold, flu,” said Flanagan. “Also, staying really well hydrated. Maybe you’re not as busy outside so you don’t think you need as much fluid, but really, staying well hydrated helps as well.”

And Flanagan says even though you might be opposed to the COVID vaccine, the flu vaccine is tried and true — with years of research to back it up.

“We’ve been doing the flu vaccine for a very long time. COVID is very new, and there’s not a lot of research that people were pleased with, so, they have the tried-and-true flu, and they know that it has been well vetted, so I think they’re more open to accepting the flu vaccine than they are the others,” Flanagan said.

From 5-7 p.m. on November 7, Essentia Health will be hosting a walk-in flu clinic. They encourage everyone to wear sports jerseys to support their favorite fall team.