Avera Medical Minute: 2009 Influenza Trends - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute: 2009 Influenza Trends

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The flu is caused by a virus that infects the respiratory tract. The flu is caused by a virus that infects the respiratory tract.

The peak of the influenza season typically doesn't hit until February, but that can fluctuate from year to year as does the severity of the strain that circulates.

The South Dakota Health Department is reporting 2 deaths so far this season from the flu, 8 confirmed cases and 3 hospitalizations.

Although getting a shot is probably not your favorite thing to do every year, doctors and health professionals insist getting your annual flu shot is far and away the best thing you can do to prevent getting influenza. Doctors say it's still not to late to get a flu shot. It's still free for children 18 years old and younger in South Dakota.

The other is practicing good and frequent hand washing. One school of thought is reciting the alphabet in your head while sudsing up. It should spent that amount of time washing to be thorough.

Once infected with the potentially deadly virus, specialists say isolation is important. Stay home to avoid infecting others and when you cough, cough into your elbow to avoid spreading germ to your hands. Influenza is a virus that infects the respiratory tract and is spread through droplets you extract while coughing or blowing your nose. Wash after you throw your tissue away too. Every year there seems to be confusion between the flu and stomach flu.

Avera Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Aris Assimacopoulos says, "Generally stomach flu or gastroenteritis is going to be more GI focused. Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and that sort of thing."

Dr. "A" says you'll know when to go to the doctor. With influenza you will have body aches, chills head ache and in most cases you will have a fever.

And so far the strain of influenza that's circulating is showing to be resistant to Tamiflu. An anti-viral medication often prescribed to patients suffering from the flu. 

Dr. Assimacopoulos says, "In that case, you ride it out with supportive care. Those treatments may shorten symptoms and lessen symptoms, but I don't think any of us believe they work like antibacterial agents where they actually kill the bacteria. The treatment is not 100% effective so you revert to supportive care."

So it's true what mom used to preach. Get plenty of sleep, drink lots of fluids and eat your chicken soup.


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