SD health experts warn of continued dangers of influenza

RAPID CITY, S.D. — It’s the middle of flu season, and though numbers for flu fatalities are low, the Department of Health says the virus is widespread across our state.

Knowing the symptoms and seeing a doctor are the first steps in preventing the flu from becoming life-threatening.

While worry of the Coronavirus spreads throughout the world, there is a common virus at home that takes lives every year.

“The flu or influenza as we know it has been around for time immemorial,” says Dr. Jennifer Williamson “We’ve had records in history of flu pandemics and devastation and multiple deaths in the thousands.”

Flu symptoms are common and though the season takes place in the colder months, catching it is possible year-round.

“Namely in the fall onward to the late spring there we tend to see the majority of cases each year of influenza,” continued Dr. Williamson, “That being said, I remind us that we can have influenza at any time of the year. So again, it’s a projection based on scientific studies to see what are the most common strains that we are likely to encounter in an upcoming season.”

This year, according to the Department of Health, flu killed 7 people to date, hospitalizing 268. Those under two and the elderly have weaker immune systems, making them susceptible to worse conditions if exposed to influenza.

The flu virus being so common can sometimes cause patients to ignore medical help, possibly treating at home. Doctors ask patients to see them with flu symptoms while practicing proper hygiene.

“Proper hand washing, limit exposure to patients with respiratory issues,” continued Dr. Williamson, “It is essentially, during the peak of the flu season, limit exposure to large gatherings of individuals to which the unimmunized infant could be exposed.”

Flu vaccines are still available at pharmacies and doctors offices bear you.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News