South Dakota reports influenza death South Dakota's first influenza-associated death of this season was reported to the South Dakota Department of Health Monday. The death was a resident of southeastern South Dakota in the 80 to 89-year-old age group, who had influenza A and other chronic health conditions. "While flu seemed to start slowly this season, this unfortunate death is a reminder of how serious the disease can be. It's important that people practice good personal hygiene to prevent the spread of influenza," said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, State Epidemiologist for the department. Dr. Kightlinger urged South Dakotans to help the spread of the flu by practicing the common sense hygiene of the department's "Stop It, Don't Spread It" campaign: • Wash your hands often with soap and water • Use hand gel when washing isn't possible; • If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth; • Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth; • If you're sick stay home. Influenza is a viral respiratory illness marked by the sudden onset of fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches. It spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, sending the highly contagious virus into the air. Each year in the U.S., influenza results in an average of 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations, including many South Dakotans. For more information about influenza, visit the web at http://flu.sd.gov.