SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Every year the flu virus is deadly, but some years the virus strikes harder than others.
As the weather starts cooling off this week, it's a sign the flu season is right around the corner.
Several states have already reported flu cases, including Minnesota.
"The best way to be protected is to take the vaccine," Sanford Chief Quality Officer Dr. Tom Braithwaite said.
Braithwaite says it's difficult to predict exactly how severe this year's flu season will be.
"We can't tell even exactly what strains will predominate, although educated work goes into the preparation of the vaccine," Braithwaite said.
There is one thing Braithwaite is sure of.
"Unfortunately, we will have deaths. We will have deaths from influenza this year just as we have in year's past," Braithwaite said.
Those most at risk include children younger than five, adults older than 64 and people with chronic medical conditions. Braithwaite urges everyone to take steps to be protected.
"Even if a different flu strain that what was predicted arises this winter, there is enough cross-reaction with the vaccine that it still affords some protection. The best protection we have now would be a combination vaccination as well as good routine public health hygiene," Braithwaite said.
The KELOLAND-TV and Lewis Drug Flu Shot Clinic is Thursday at all Sioux Falls Lewis Drug locations from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The cost is $30. It's free with a Medicare card.
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