Flu season begins to pick up pace in Henry County
By MEGAN COOPER
Mt. Pleasant News
Flu season is starting to pick up in the area.
According to Travis Johnson, community health director at Henry County Health Center, there is a statewide increase in the number of influenza cases and there are rising cases in Henry County.
“This is the typical time of year for this to occur. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has ‘upgraded’ Iowa from sporadic to local in regards to the spread of influenza,” Johnson said. “This means we are now experiencing several small outbreaks of the flu. The outbreak has mainly been in eastern Iowa. Of the tested confirmed cases of flu statewide, over 80 percent of them are of a strain that is covered by the flu vaccine.”
According to the Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network (IISN), there have been 32 cases of seasonal influenza A, including 27 cases of the 2009 H1N1. There have been a total of 101 cases of influenza with the 2009 H1N1 viruses predominating, this season so far.
The public health office does have a small amount of the flu vaccine still available and it is open every Wednesday and Thursday. On Jan. 1, the office will be closed due to the New Year holiday.
Johnson wants the community to be aware that there is another illness going around the community as well.
“There have been six separate outbreaks with symptoms (vomiting and diarrhea) related to the norovirus and locally we have had several cases experiencing these symptoms,” said Johnson. “We would like to remind everyone to remain home if you are ill, even if it means missing that holiday party. Also, do not touch or handle any foods meant for others for at least 48 hours after symptoms resolve.”
Jan. 24 kicks off the 10-week Live Healthy Iowa Challenge. According to Johnson, this is a team-centered, fun competition that encourages weight loss and increased activity.
“It is a great thing for co-workers, classmates and groups of friends to get together and form a team. Activity and weight loss are tracked through a website with new mobile apps available this year,” Johnson explained.
The challenge, over the course of 10 weeks, with teams of 2-10 people, track activity minutes and/or weight loss through the Live Healthy Iowa website. Each team member has a personal online dashboard to report progress, monitor progress and access resources.
Signing up for the challenge gives members the following:
• A challenge T-shirt
• Weekly activity, nutrition and recipe tips via e-mail
• A personal online tracking page
• Unlimited access to healthy recipes, health tips and more
• Opportunities to win individual prizes and team incentives
• One-year subscription to a lifestyle magazine
• Discounted registration to Live Healthy Iowa 5K challenge finale event
• Free registration to Winter and Summer Iowa Games Fitness Walks and Zumba®
In conjunction with the Live Healthy Iowa Challenge, the Community Transformation Grant (CTG) provides funding to work with local businesses to help instill wellness activities in workplaces.
“Consultation and technical assistance are available to any business who is interested at no cost to them. The Live Healthy Iowa Challenge is a great way to kick off a wellness campaign. Interested businesses can contact Lindsay Remick at 319-385-6595,” Johnson concluded.