Sturgis, SD  57785      2/11/2016
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U.S. Flu Activity Ramping Up In mid-January
UPDATED January 17, 2016
UPDATED By WeatherBug's Daniel Eiblum
The weather is getting colder and the sniffling, sneezing and aching of influenza has begun across the U.S. The Center For Disease Control and Prevention is issuing its weekly flu updates.

During the Week of January 9th, 2016, sporadic flu activity was found in the following states: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Local flu activity was found in the following states: Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont.

Regional flu activity was found in the following states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

No flu activity was found in the following states: Alabama, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.

Now is the perfect time to get a seasonal flu shot to help your immune system get ready for virus that causes influenza. How can you help protect your family from the flu?

Here are some flu facts:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all people older than 6 months of age get the seasonal flu vaccine. In addition to the traditional shot, the vaccine is also available via a nasal spray that can be ministered to any healthy person between the ages of 2 and 50. The CDC says not to delay getting your child vaccinated by waiting for the spray. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist to find out about flu vaccine side-effect and precautions.

Speaking of the flu shot, the best time to get one is generally in the fall. If you did not get one this season, it is technically never "too late," though it takes a couple of weeks for your body to develop flu antibodies to protect itself. Remember: the flu shot cannot give you the flu, but some side effects are possible, including a runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches, and mild fever.

Due to certain health restrictions, not everyone is eligible to receive the flu shot. For those of you who are not able to get a flu shot, there are other things you can do to minimize your risk for contracting the flu, as well as giving it to others:

  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
  • Avoid exposing others when you are sick. Stay home from work or school if you are exhibiting symptoms.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Lastly, getting a flu shot is not a guarantee that you won`t end up getting the flu, but it can help you from catching it as easily and can even help keep symptoms from being as bad. In fact this season, because of the unusual severity of the flu, the CDC has urged doctors to prescribe antiviral drugs, like Tamiflu, to patients with flu-like symptoms. If given early enough, there is evidence that antivirals can lessen the intensity and duration of influenza symptoms.

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Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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