Influenza in South Dakota

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — So far this season, South Dakota has seen more than 7,500 cases of the flu.

Although flu activity is widespread in the state, doctors say it’s still not too late to get vaccinated.

As influenza season continues in KELOLAND, doctors are focused on prevention.

“The sad part is, only about 50%, maybe 60% of South Dakotans get vaccinated. That’s why we continue to see flu every year. If we could get that up to 85 to 90 the incidence of influenza would drop off significantly,” Daniel Heinemann said.

Dr. Daniel Heinemann says this year’s influenza season hasn’t been unusual compared to past seasons regarding the number of cases.

He says the best way to steer clear of the virus is by getting everyone in your household vaccinated.

“Kids bring this home to their parents and that’s why they get it in their households. So that’s why we really would love to see close to 90 to 100% of our school aged children vaccinated so you just reduce the possibility of being exposed to it,” Heinemann said.

While Chris Biewer’s child isn’t in school yet, his 16-month-old is attending daycare.
He says his entire family received the vaccine to avoid getting sick.

“They had some confirmed cases at daycare, but like I said we kind of do what we can with hand washing and stuff like that. I mean I guess if we’re going to get it we’re going to get it, but I feel like we’ve done as much as we can,” Biewer said.

And so far, everyone in his home has stayed healthy.

Doctors say if you do start experiencing flu like symptoms but are able to keep fluids down and aren’t having trouble breathing, at-home care may be the best.

But if you have a fever that persists, you begin having trouble breathing or are just overall feeling worse, Heinemann says it’s time to see a doctor.

“The most common complication would be that of a serious pneumonia. Although there’s a growing body of evidence that the first time in an adult, the first time you have an influenza infection there’s a serious risk of having a heart attack,” Heinemann said.

Which is why he says if you haven’t already– consider getting vaccinated.

To take a look at the latest influenza report in South Dakota, click here.

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