WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – Fall is in full swing, which means Flu season is almost here, and many health officials have an important message for you and your family.
Dr. Nafissa Cisse Egbuonye with Black Hawk County Health Department said 276 people in Iowa died from flu complications last flu season.
She said the illness reached its highest activity since 2009. However, the good news is you can protect yourself by getting the flu shot.
Flu season begins at the end of October, and it peaks in January. Sometimes, it can last as late as May, according to health officials.
Dr. Egbuoyne said even if you get the vaccine, you may still get the flu, however, your symptoms won’t be as severe.
Some people may not believe in the flu shot, or they may think they won’t get the flu this year. However, prevention is key, according to Dr. Egbuoyne.
Children, adults age 50 and older, women who are pregnant and people with chronic health conditions are at the highest risk for contracting the flu. However, health officials encourage all people six months and older to get immunized.
“I think it’s very important that people take a preventable measure. It’s like saying, ‘I’m gonna get into a car but I’m not going to have an accident. It’s not going to happen.’ You just don’t know,” she said.
Even if you get the flu shot, Dr. Egbuoyne said it takes about two weeks for your body to develop antibodies. She encouraged you to get immunized now to protect yourself before flu season begins.
If you are interested in getting a flu shot, you can visit your family doctor or see your local pharmacist.
THE THREE C’S
Health officials are encouraging people to practice the three C’s: cover, clean and contain.
COVER your cough by using a tissue or your elbow.
CLEAN your hands by using soap and water or hand sanitizer.
CONTAIN germs by staying at home when you’re ill.
Symptoms of the flu include: fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. The illness typically lasts two to seven days, according to health officials. Influenza comes on suddenly and may cause severe illness or death.