Time for flu shots before the worst part of flu season hits - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Time for flu shots before the worst part of flu season hits

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We're just at the very beginning of flu season, but South Dakota has already had three cases of the flu and one flu-related death. That means its time to go out and get a flu shot.

Flu season usually starts in October and lasts until May, but the worst cases of flu come in January, February and March. The first step in prevention is getting a flu shot. Anyone six months and older should get a flu shot or other form of flu immunization.

After you get your flu shot, the next step in prevention is recognizing the signs and symptoms of the flu to help prevent it from spreading.

"The symptoms of the flu are going to be similar to the common cold but more severe," said Dr. Jeremy Storm, an infectious disease specialist in Sioux Falls.

"Fever, chills body aches, stuffy nose, running nose, cough—those are the things we tend to see," said Kimberly Hanssen, a Family Practice Doctor at Avera McGreevy West.

But often times, the flu can spread before any of those symptoms even start.

"People will actually be spreading or shedding the virus sometimes even before they're symptomatic and so you don't always know the people you're around could be passing that and you're not going to be aware of that necessarily. So always the safest thing to do is get the flu shot and wash your hands regularly so that's going to be the best way to protect yourself from the flu," said Dr. Storm.

You can also help protect others by knowing when you need to stay home.

"In general we say you should be without a fever for 24 hours without needing to use Ibuprofen or Tylenol to take that down, at that point you're able to go back to work or daycare," said Dr. Hanssen.

A flu shot is the best way to avoid sick days away from work or school. That's why many businesses and community groups are offering free flu shot clinics. 

If you're worried about getting a flu shot, people ages two to 50 can choose to get the flu mist nasal application. 

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