Feeling ill? You’re Not Alone: Flu Activity Increasing in Iowa


February 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

After weeks of low influenza levels in Iowa, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reports statewide surveillance indicates flu activity is increasing. The flu season typically peaks in February and can last as late as May.  IDPH Deputy Epidemiologist, Dr. Ann Garvey says “If you have flu symptoms, help out your family, friends and co-workers by staying home to avoid spreading the virus. It’s also important to remember to cover your coughs and sneezes and clean your hands frequently to help yourself and others stay healthy.” IDPH recommends all Iowans age 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine. Getting vaccinated now will offer protection throughout the flu season, and will also help keep those traveling over Spring Break healthy as they visit areas where flu levels may be higher.

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses and is among the top 10 causes of death in Iowa. 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.