According to IH, about 12,200 people are hospitalized and 3,500 people die from influenza or its complications every year.
"But even if you are one of the lucky ones who bounces back quickly from the flu, people around you may not be so lucky". The best way to avoid influenza is to get a flu shot, IH says.
The province said immunization is especially important for those who are at high risk of serious illness from the flu and those who are in close contact with people at high risk.
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"Influenza, which people often call the flu, is sometimes confused with the common cold, the stomach flu (norovirus) or other illnesses caused by a virus", said Dr. Rakel Kling, medical health officer. Last season, almost 54 percent of South Dakotans got a flu shot, the second highest vaccination rate in the nation. "It is highly contagious, and is among the top 10 leading causes of death in Canada".
This year's shot offers protection against two influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2 virus) and one influenza B virus. For those under 18, the preferred vaccine also protects against an additional B influenza virus. Even healthy people can get sick with the flu and have serious complications.
Flu vaccines can be obtained at local pharmacies and primary care physicians' offices or health centers.
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Story courtesy of Greene County Public Health. You can also find a flu clinic near you by visiting the Influenza Clinic Locator (http://immunizebc.ca/clinics/flu) on the ImmunizeBC website.
South Dakota health officials are reporting the first flu case of the season.
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