The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has received its first confirmed seasonal influenza report for the 2011-2012 season. The State Hygienic Laboratory (SHL) confirmed the positive test result in a Polk County child (0 to 17 years of age), with no reported medical conditions.
"Right now is a good time to get your flu vaccine," said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. "It's not too late to be vaccinated for seasonal influenza, and it's especially important for those with risk factors including heart diseases, lung diseases, diabetes, women who are pregnant, and the very young and very old."
The influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. While the flu vaccine is the best defense against getting influenza, it's also important to take personal actions to help prevent the spread of illness. Remember the 3Cs: Cover your coughs and sneezes; Clean your hands frequently; and Contain germs by staying home when ill.
The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. It spreads easily from person to person and can cause mild to severe illness. 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. Influenza may cause severe illness or complications in people such as the very young or very old, or those who have underlying health conditions.
Contact your health care provider or local health department to find out where the vaccine is available in your community. More information about influenza can be found at www.idph.state.ia.us/Cade/Influenza.aspx