An influenza-related death in a healthy Iowa child (0 to 17 years of age) has been reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health. IDPH has also been notified of several probable adult deaths related to influenza. CDC reported that as of January 4, ten influenza-related pediatric deaths have been reported nationally.
It is not too late to get vaccinated. It is especially important for children to be vaccinated this year, because this year's most common influenza strain (H1N1) is hitting children particularly hard.
All Iowans over 6 months of age should receive a flu vaccine this year and every year. While vaccination is the best defense against influenza, personal actions also help prevent the spread of illness. Remember the 3Cs:
* Cover your coughs and sneezes
* Clean your hands frequently
* Contain germs by staying home when ill
The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. 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 even death.
IDPH conducts year-round influenza surveillance through the Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network, and posts a flu report weekly. For more information about where and what kind of influenza is in Iowa, go to www.idph.state.ia.us/Cade/Influenza.aspx?pg=FluHome.