BLACK HAWK COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) – Doctors say flu activity is on the rise in Iowa. Earlier this January, the Iowa State Public Health Department reported the first flu-related death.
Dr. Nafissa Cisse Egbuonye with Black Hawk County Health Department said the best way to protect yourself is to get the flu shot.
“Really the best mechanism is the vaccine,” she said. “Once you get the vaccine, it doesn’t mean you won’t get the flu, but what it does is prevents you from dire consequences.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyone six months and older get immunized.
BLACK HAWK COUNTY AT A GLANCE
Dr. Egbuonye said there has not been a flu outbreak, and no one has been hospitalized with the flu in Black Hawk County. But she said health officials have seen an increase in flu cases in the past three weeks.
If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, it’s not too late. You can check with your provider or go to a local pharmacy. The CDC recommends the flu shot over nasal spray.
PREVENTION IS KEY
While people are more likely to get the flu during winter, flu season lasts until March or April.
Dr. Egbuonye said you can also protect yourself by practicing the 3 C’s.
“Cover your cough, clean your hands and containment, which is stay at home when you’re not feeling too good,” she said. “I really urge people to practice that and also educate their kids.”
HIGH RISK GROUPS
Keep in mind, certain groups are at a higher risk for getting the flu, including: children, people with underlying health conditions and adults 50 years and older.
If you think you have the flu, see your doctor immediately. Flu symptoms include: fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.
Flu symptoms typically come on more suddenly and in some cases can cause death, whereas symptoms of the common cold are more gradual, according to Dr. Egbuonye.