Local Clinics Packed With Flu Cases


Flu numbers are soaring in KELOLAND. Earlier this month the South Dakota Department of Health released the latest figures, and more than 2,600 cases have been confirmed this season. Four people have died.

With more and more people being diagnosed, some are wondering why they aren’t being prescribed treatment, like Tamiflu. While others aren’t being tested for influenza at all.

Like most medical issues, the testing and treatment of the flu is really up to your provider. However, there are a few key guidelines most doctors will stick to.

When it comes to influenza, the first 48 hours are crucial.

“If you’re past that. If it’s already been more than three days, there’s not much we can offer you anyway for treatment. Unless you’re worried that you have a secondary type of infection that might need to be evaluated,” said Avera Physician, Kari Hultgren. 

The Avera Clinic at 26th and Marion has seen a big jump in visitors testing positive for the flu recently.

“It was a little later than last year, but it’s been a little more intense right now. We’re seeing a lot more in a short amount of time,” said Hultgren, “But overall the flu shot, the people that got their immunization seem to not be quite as sick as the people who didn’t.” 

Children, the elderly, and women who are pregnant or just gave birth are considered high risk. If you’re not in one of these categories, you probably don’t need to spend your time in the clinic waiting room.

“The point of testing is then kind of mute, because if you don’t need treatment do we really need to know what it is? It’s probably influenza,” said Hutlgren. 

And, if you really don’t want to get sick at all; use common sense.

“Lots of hand washing. Lots of sanitizer. Staying away from people who are sick. If somebody you know has a fever and a cough, let them be,” said Hultgren.

Hultgren wants to remind everyone, it is not too late to get the flu shot! Even if it doesn’t prevent illness completely, it will likely help.

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