National Influenza Vaccination Week
The South Dakota Department of Health is recognizing National Influenza Vaccination Week by urging people 6 months and older to get their annual flu vaccine before the week’s end. Influenza and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, and will likely spread simultaneously this year, so it is more important than ever to get a flu shot.
“The Department of Health has seen a decrease in the number of people who have been vaccinated for influenza, especially in the 64 and older age group, which is very concerning.” Said Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon. “Older adults are one of the high-risk populations for complications from influenza.”
Each year, an average of 48 South Dakotan deaths are reported to the Department of Health following influenza infections. To protect against flu complications, annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone age six months and older. Groups like pregnant women, children younger than five years, people over 65 years, and people with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for flu-related complications, such as pneumonia, hospitalization, and death. Healthcare workers and household contacts of high-risk populations, such as those with young infants, should also be vaccinated.
Influenza is a viral infection spread by respiratory droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Common signs and symptoms of the flu include a fever of 100 degrees or greater, cough, sore throat, headache, fatigue, body or muscle aches, and runny or stuffy nose.
In addition to vaccination, to prevent the spread of the flu:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand gel;
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; and,
- Stay home if you are sick.