Uh-oh, here comes flu season
The flu season appears to be off to an early start in Iowa, as the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) last week announced testing by the State Hygienic Laboratory (SHL) has identified strains of influenza circulating in the state.
While influenza activity remains at a low level, the identification of the virus in Iowa should serve as motivation for those who have not yet received their yearly influenza vaccination to do so now.
“The most effective way to prevent influenza illness and death is the yearly flu vaccine,” said Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, who serves as medical director for the Department of Public Health. “Based on CDC estimates, an average of 300,00 Iowans get the flu every year, and together, flu and its complication of pneumonia are the cause of 1,000 deaths yearly in Iowa.
Chickasaw County Public Health and Home Care Services will be holding a Children’s Flu Clinic on Thursday from noon to 5:30 p.m.
Children must have an appointment to receive the vaccine, and they can be made by calling 641-394-4053.
Chickasaw County Public Health will also being doing an Adult Flu Clinic on Thursday, Nov. 12 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at its office that is located at 260 East Prospect, New Hampton.
Chickasaw County Public Health is only giving Quadrivalent, a four strain vaccine for better protection. You also may contact Chickasaw County Public Health for appointment during office hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
IDPH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend annual influenza vaccinations for everyone 6 months of age and older.
It’s especially important to be vaccinated if you have regular contact with people more vulnerable to the complications of flu, including babies, children with asthma, and elderly. IDPH also recommends pregnant women to be vaccinated to protect themselves, and to pass on some immunity to their baby.
The flu is a serious is a serious respiratory illness caused by viruses. The flu comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches.
Illness typically lasts two to seven days, and often puts healthy people in bed for days. Influenza may cause severe illness or even death in people such as the very young or very old, or those who have underlying health conditions.
Influenza is not a “reportable disease” in Iowa, which means doctors are not required to notify IPDH each time a patient test positive for influenza.
However, IDPH conducts year-round influenza surveillance through the Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network. This surveillance indicates what types of influenza viruses are circulating and how widespread influenza illness is.