The flu season is underway across the country and local health officials report continued increases in numbers of influenza cases across South Dakota.

Sioux Falls Public Health Manager Sandy Frentz says seasonal influenza activity remains at a widespread level, with the number of cases of Influenza A continuing to show a steady increase.

Sandy urges residents to practice good respiratory hygiene and get their flu shots.

"Vaccination is the safest and most effective way to prevent the flu.  Even though this year's flu vaccine may not be as effective because of mutations in some flu viruses, I cannot emphasize enough that it's still very important to get vaccinated."

While vaccination provides the greatest protection against the flu, other effective ways to avoid getting or spreading it include washing hands frequently or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer; covering coughs and sneezes with tissues, or coughing or sneezing into elbows; and staying home when sick and until you have been fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medications.

Sandy says vaccine is available at Falls Community Health.  To schedule an appointment for a flu shot, call 367-8793.