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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 18, 2017

IDPH encourages Iowans to get their flu shot

Sep 28, 2017

Although Iowa’s influenza season typically does not begin until November, the Iowa Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) influenza surveillance network has already reported a handful of influenza cases in the state.

“Flu vaccine is plentiful,” IDPH Medical Director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said. “Since it takes up to two weeks after vaccination for the body to develop full protection against the flu virus, being vaccinated now means you’ll be protected before the flu starts spreading and for the rest of the flu season.”

Every Iowan over six months of age should receive the flu vaccine, according to IDPH. It is especially important for some people to be vaccinated against the flu who may have a higher risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia. These groups include: pregnant women (By getting vaccinated when pregnant, the woman not only protects herself during this vulnerable time, but she will pass on protection to her newborn who is too young to receive a vaccine.); children, especially those younger than two years old; older adults, especially those 65 years old and older; and people who have certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease.

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. Illness typically lasts two to seven days. The flu comes on suddenly and may cause severe illness or even death, even in healthy individuals. The “stomach bug,” which causes diarrhea and vomiting, is not caused by the influenza virus, but usually by a different virus called “norovirus;” thus, the flu vaccine will not protect you against this illness.

No one can predict what the upcoming flu season will be like, but the flu season in the southern hemisphere can be an indication. It has been an especially severe flu season in Australia, which could indicate widespread flu in the U.S. this winter. One thing is certain: your best defense against getting the flu is an annual vaccination. Additionally, by being vaccinated, you will prevent spreading the flu to those around you. For more information about Iowa influenza tracking and monitoring, visit https://www.idph.iowa.gov/influenza.

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