Health Watch: The flu

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN)- Flu season is in full swing here in South Dakota and nearly 19 million influenza cases have been diagnosed so far with nearly 180,000 with hospitalizations and nearly 10,000 flu-related deaths just this year. So what is the flu? Influenza or the flu is an infection that can cause an array of symptoms, there are different forms of the seasonal flu most commonly influenza A and influenza B. The most common flu symptoms include fever, extreme fatigue, headache, body aches, cough, sore throat, and runny nose. Flu-like symptoms can also come on very suddenly and the flu can be dangerous. Most people get over the flue on their own without lasting problems. However, some people warrant hospitalization due to flu-related complications such as pneumonia. People at risk for flu-related complications include people over the age of 65, young children especially those under the age of 2, pregnant women, and people with medical conditions. In order to protect yourself from the flu, you should wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer, avoid sick contacts and get your flu vaccine every year. Some years the flu vaccine is more effective than others but even in years when it is less effective it still helps prevent some cases of the flu and can also help prevent getting severely ill if you do get the flu. If you think you have the flu stay home, rest and drink plenty of fluids. The flu can be treated with antiviral medications if your doctor feels that is is appropriate antibiotics however do not help with influenza. If you haven't got a flu shot this year it is not too late. I'm doctor Taylor Kapcsh with Creekside Medical Clinic with your Healthwatch