South Dakota is starting to see an uptick in flu cases this season

Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force / MGN
Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force / MGN(WVLT)
Published: Feb. 4, 2019 at 6:23 PM CST
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Flu cases are on the rise in South Dakota.

A new reporter by the South Dakota Department of Health says its confirmed more than 500 cases of the flu within the past two weeks. Bringing the total up to more than 1,000.

"This is about the peak time period," Dr. David Basel, Avera Medical Group clinical quality vice president, said. "But this kind of late January, February tends to be in most years where we see the peak."

Influenza is spread through respiratory droplets. So, when you cough or touch your nose, it spreads the virus around. And this time of year cases ramp up.

"It has to do with when most people are confined indoors and so because it is spread by people in close contact with each other, you know, the colder the weather is, the worse the weather is outside, the more we're around each other," Dr. Basel said.

This creates a "herd effect" which takes over and then eventually knocks the flu virus back down again.

"We definitely have had some flu cases recently," Bridget Hanson, Boys, and Girls Club 57th Street learning center director, said.

The Boys and Girls Club in Sioux Falls is working to stay one step ahead of the virus.

"So we always do a lot of cleaning and so when it's kind of the flu season we just kind of ramp that up a little bit," she said.

The club has several policies in place to make sure the virus doesn't spread throughout its daycare.

"If a child is having a fever of 101 or above, they get sent home, and then we ask parents don't bring them back until they are fever free without medicines for 24 hours," Hanson said.

But, doctors are hopeful this year will be better than the last.

"This year it seems like the vaccine is pretty effective against the circulating strain and so I'm predicting that it won't be quite as bad as last year because the vaccine is pretty well matched," Dr. Basel said.

Dr. Basel expects flu activity to continue into March and even early April.

You can still get vaccinated. It takes two weeks for the antibodies from the vaccination to work.