Did you get vaccinated?
HARLAN - Influenza activity continues to increase across the state and locally. In the past week, influenza’s geographic spread has increased to the regional level. Regional geographic spread is characterized by outbreaks of influenza or influenza-like illness (and recent laboratory confirmed influenza) in at least two regions of the state.
Currently, both influenza A and B subtypes are circulating in Iowa, including Shelby County. Unlike the rest of the state, Influenza A is the most common subtype in the Southwest Region of Iowa, which includes Shelby County. Influenza B is the predominant strain in the other five regions of the state based on percent of positive tests for the present week. All current circulating strains are covered by the 2019-2020 influenza vaccine.
During the 2019-2020 flu season thus far, influenza-associated hospitalizations are most common in people aged 50 and older followed by children under five years of age.
Six influenza deaths
Six influenza-associated deaths have been reported in Iowa during the 2019-2020 influenza season. There have been no reports of long-term care influenza outbreaks and sentinel schools are reporting just over a 2% absentee rate (for any illness) over the past three months.
As influenza continues to spread, more influenza illness is expected. For this reason, it is important to remind everyone what you can do to protect yourself and others from this serious illness.
The tips below will help you protect yourself and reduce your risk of becoming ill:
1. Get your flu shot.
Everyone six months of age or older should get a flu vaccine in order to protect themselves, family members, friends, and/or co-workers.
2. Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
3. Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
4. Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses are spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands.
5. Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
6. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
7. Practice good health habits.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Contact your health care provider or Myrtue’s Public Health Department at 712-755-4422 to schedule an influenza immunization if you have not received your vaccine this season. To learn more about influenza, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.
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