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Flu Hits SD Hard, Creates Vaccine Shortages

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The flu is quickly spreading its away across the country and South Dakotans are feeling its wrath. 

According to the South Dakota Department of Health, 9 deaths have been reported across the state, including 469 lab confirmed cases of the virus and 135 flu-related hospitlizations.

The Sanford Clinic off of 54th street has been treating people everyday that are battling the flu.

"We're beginning to see an influx of people with flu symptoms," said Dr. Van Balen, a physician at the clinic.

Doctors say symptoms to look out for are fever of more than 100 degrees, cough or sore throat and chills and fatigue.

"I think it's important that you use all the basic precautions so cover your cough, wash your hands and then treat the symptoms," said Van Balen.

Doctors say the best way to avoid the worst of it, is to get the flu shot.

“I just do it every year! There's no question in my mind about it, I just get it," said Edgar Resel, a Sioux Falls resident who received the flu shot a few months ago.

Resel was lucky enough to get the shot early on, but some may not be so lucky, as many clinics and pharmacies have already run out of their supply.

The HyVee on Louise Avenue is one location that used to offer the shot, but experienced a shortage after the flu season hit.

However, they do have another remedy available.

“We have the Tamiflu,” said Jillian Tucek, a HyVee pharmacist.

They too have seen an influx of customers taking precautions against the virus. 

“Our prescriptions for Tamiflu, which is used to treat influenza, have definitely increased over the last couple of weeks,” said Tucek.

With the number of cases rising and not enough vaccines to go around, professionals say the best medicine may be to just take care of yourself.

“If you think you have influenza, go in and see your doctor as soon as you can. Stay home and get some good rest and some good sleep and stay well hydrated,” said Tucek.

The Sanford Clinics say they have plenty of the vaccine on hand at all of their clinics.

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