According to reports across the country, the flu is hitting the United States hard this season, resulting in the deaths of numerous children.

From the Rocky Mountains to New England, hospitals are swamped with people with flu symptoms. Some medical centers are turning away visitors or making them wear face masks, and one Pennsylvania hospital set up a tent outside its ER to deal with the feverish patients.

While flu normally doesn't blanket the country until late January or February, it is already widespread in more than 40 states, with about 30 of them reporting some major hot spots. On Thursday, health officials blamed the flu for the deaths of 20 children so far.

And South Dakota is not immune to the flu. KELO-TV reports that the flu is 'widespread' in the state.

The state is now seeing "widespread" flu activity, which means it's affecting people across the state. Nearly 2,800 South Dakotans have tested positive for influenza, 135 have been hospitalized and the state is reporting nine flu-related deaths.

The result is that many people are now looking to get their flu shots. Unfortunately, that may be easier said than done. Most pharmacies in Sioux Falls ran out of vaccines late last year.

According to KSFY-TV,

All Hy-Vee and Walgreens pharmacies are out of regular flu shots.  Many Lewis pharmacies just received new shipments of vaccines today, but we're not sure how many they were able to get. The best way to get a flu shot right now is to schedule and appointment with your doctor.

South Dakota State Epidemiologist Dr. Lon Kightlinger told KSFY, "The flu virus is likely to be with us for several weeks, if not months, so getting vaccinated now can provide important protection from the flu."

The Associated Press explained that the flu usually peaks in midwinter.

Symptoms can include fever, cough, runny nose, head and body aches and fatigue. Some people also suffer vomiting and diarrhea, and some develop pneumonia or other severe complications.

Most people with flu have a mild illness and can help themselves and protect others by staying home and resting. But people with severe symptoms should see a doctor. They may be given antiviral drugs or other medications to ease symptoms.

Flu vaccinations are recommended for everyone 6 months or older. Of the 20 children killed by the flu this season, only two were fully vaccinated.

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