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Increase In Flu Cases

January 8, 2014, 6:17 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Increase In Flu Cases

You might remember just a few years ago, in 2009, when many people lined up to get a shot to protect themselves from H1N1. Again this year H1N1 is the most common flu strain in South Dakota.

"So far it makes up about 97 percent of the strains," Sanford Infectious Disease Dr. Wendell Hoffman said.

This year health officials are optimistic it will not cause a pandemic because unlike 2009, H1N1 is covered under the current flu shot.

"Every year since 2009 H1N1 has been contained in the vaccines that have been delivered," Hoffman said.

And there's still time to roll up your sleeve. Dr. Wendell Hoffman says flu season typically peaks in the middle of February. It takes ten to 14 days to get your most protection after the shot, but your body starts building antibodies right away.

"The single best way to either prevent or make the flu less severe is to get your influenza shot, and it's not too late," Hoffman said.

In addition to getting your flu shot, Dr. Hoffman says you should also practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before eating and after going to the bathroom.

"When you do have a cough, cough into your sleeve or arm to minimize the projection of organisms into the space surrounding you," Hoffman said.

Hoffman also says if you're sick, you should stay home -- you should not go to school or work.

"So we can minimize the spread of influenza," Hoffman said.

And that way your family and coworkers can have a healthy start to 2014.

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