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South Dakota sees first flu case - SEASONAL FLU

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  • South Dakota sees first flu case - SEASONAL FLU

    Season sees first flu case
    Colds also looming, doctors say

    PUBLISHED: November 13, 2006
    Break out the cough drops and tissues: The cold and flu season is here.

    South Dakota reported its first official case of influenza this week in Lyman County, and doctors say more cases are likely soon.

    "If it's in the state, I would guess it's going to be here within the next couple of weeks," said Dr. Stephanie Broderson, a family medicine doctor with Sioux Valley Clinic East in Sioux Falls. "Once it's here, it spreads pretty quick."

    Broderson said she hasn't seen any flu cases yet, but other illnesses such as strep throat and respiratory viruses are making the rounds.

    Child-care providers are seeing children come down with colds and pneumonia, and some are seeing a rise in infants with the respiratory virus known as RSV.

    "We have had our share of it, especially with our little ones," said Kim Helgerson, child-care director for the downtown YWCA. "From what I hear, I think we've had like 10 cases of RSV in babies."

    The flu, which results in an average of 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations each year in the U.S., can be avoided through vaccination. The state health department again is encouraging those at high risk to get the vaccine.

    Those most at-risk for flu include young children, pregnant women, seniors, health care workers and people with compromised immune systems.
    The state health department recommends people get vaccinated well into December and even in January, because the flu season typically doesn't peak until February.

    Broderson said people who do contract flu can help alleviate the symptoms - including fever, headache, fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches - if they get to a doctor within 48 hours after symptoms begin. Antiviral medicines now available can cut the duration of symptoms by "a couple of days," she said.

    "You've got to get in right away to get those antivirals," Broderson said.

    The medicine also can be given as a preventative measure to family members and anyone else who's had contact with someone with the flu.

    The spread of flu can be halted by good hygiene, including frequent hand-washing, avoiding others who are sick and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

    Reach Megan Myers at 331-2257.
    "We are in this breathing space before it happens. We do not know how long that breathing space is going to be. But, if we are not all organizing ourselves to get ready and to take action to prepare for a pandemic, then we are squandering an opportunity for our human security"- Dr. David Nabarro