The South Dakota Health Department is urging the public to get a flu shot as soon as possible. Two children, on opposite sides of the state, have already gotten sick from the virus.
Alyce Dummermuth knows the flu virus can hit anyone. That's why she gets a flu shot every year even though she considers herself a healthy person.
"I have no prescriptions. I just take my calcium and that's it," Dummermuth said.
While the point of the flu shot is the same every year, what's in the vaccine can change from year to year.
"There's a group of scientists who meet all year long, and in February they decide which of all the different viruses that are out there are probably the virus that will cause the greatest concern," Lewis Drug Director of Pharmacy Bill Ladwig said.
This year's vaccine contains three strains of the flu virus. That includes H1N1, the virus that was to blame for the 2009 outbreak, and two other strains that were not used in the vaccine in the past, an H3N2-like virus and an influenza B virus that was similar to the strain in 2010.
"Viruses have been around since before history, and they evolve every year, and every year it's a new version because they're constantly evolving to this next generation," Ladwig said.
Another question many people have as far as being protected by the flu shot is whether it's too early to get the vaccine. Health officials say not. In fact, the South Dakota Health Department encourages people to get the shot as soon as possible.
"Once you've had the flu you're the first person in line to get next year's shot because it can be very devastating," Ladwig said.
That's why this 85-year-old plans to get her flu shot soon.
"We have to take all the precautions we can," Dummermuth said.
The South Dakota Health Department says the best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get the vaccine.
KELO-TV is teaming up with Lewis Drug to hold a flu shot clinic this Thursday. Just stop by any Sioux Falls Lewis Drug store from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. The cost is $28; it's free with a Medicare card.
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