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
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
Sunday, April 20 2014 10:30 PM EDT2014-04-21 02:30:09 GMT
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