South Dakota bracing for bad flu season - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

South Dakota bracing for bad flu season

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The flu is spreading like wildfire across the nation in what could be the largest and earliest outbreak in at least a decade. Right now 41 states are reporting widespread flu cases, but how does South Dakota fare?

South Dakota may not be on the CDC's flu outbreak list but that doesn't mean the bug is stopping at the state lines.

"I am seeing quite a few people coming into my clinic for testing and many are being positive." Dr. Kirsten Stotz, a physician with the Avera Medical Group.

It's a similar trend popping up across the state. The South Dakota Department of Health has already confirmed 409 flu cases this season, last year's total was 505. The flu season runs from October to may with peak season hitting in February; this year it's come on early and strong.

"The flu number's we've seen are a result of it being very contagious, it's a viral illness that's easy to be spread and if one person in the family has it it's easy to spread to other household contacts, or school mates, co-workers and we have seen the people who don't get the seasonal vaccine are more prone to get this illness." Said Dr. Stotz.

The symptoms of the flu are a high fever, one that's over 100.5 degrees, a cough and sore throat, and constant aches and pains. If you have all three you need to get checked out.

"There is a medication that helps with the severity of the symptoms but that medication can only be given if you're within the first 48 hours of symptom onset." Said Dr. Stotz.

In South Dakota, the flu vaccine is still available and the recommended defense against the flu. That paired with good hand hygiene will help slow down this flu bug.

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