SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Flu season is underway in KELOLAND and the epicenter right now is Sioux Falls. Doctors on both sides of the state tell us the flu season is expected to be on the stronger side.

The flu virus attacks the lungs, nose, and throat. Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, headaches, and fatigue, Sanford’s Chief Physician Dr. Jeremy Cauwels said.

According to the State Health Department, so far the vast majority of flu cases reported in South Dakota are Influenza A.

“What we’ve seen in influenza already is that this side of the state is building up much faster than the other side of the state, we’ve also seen from Australia that the flu season is going to be more severe than it has been in the last recent years past,” said Cauwels.

The good news is the flu vaccine appears to be on target and effective in fending off the virus.
Cauwels says he looks at this winter as a triple threat, COVID, the flu and RSV.

“What we are seeing right now is that RSV, especially in children is really taking off very quickly, right now I can also tell you that the leader in the state of South Dakota with influenza is right here in Sioux Falls,” said Cauwels.

Ty White, Monument Health’s Director of Infection Prevention says the flu season is arriving sooner than normally expected.

“Influenza we typically don’t start seeing cases until you know Thanksgiving, December time frame, we started seeing cases here a few weeks ago, and so it’s early this year than normal,” said White.

So the bottom line, the flu season is hitting sooner, it’s expected to be robust and this year’s vaccine appears to be effective.