Do you want to stay healthy this winter? If so, you should get a flu shot. It is better for us to get a flu shot at the beginning of the flu season instead of when we are coming down with symptoms of a cold which could lead to the flu. Flu activity usually peaks from January through March but cases can occur as late as May and as early as October.
Unfortunately, I have experienced the flu. I was out of school for about four days but didn’t fully feel back to normal for about another week. The flu comes on suddenly. Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, headache, body aches, tiredness, sore throat, and nasal congestion. The flu is a non-reportable disease. This means doctors are not required to notify the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).
About 300,000 Iowans get the flu each year. Some get diagnosed with pneumonia which caused a little over 1,000 deaths last year in Iowa. The Center for Disease Control estimated that 31.8 million people had a flu-like illness and 381,000 people were hospitalized during the 2012-13 flu season. About 6.6 million flu illnesses were prevented because people received flu shots. Vaccines reduced the flu and hospitalizations by 17 percent.
In a news release discussed with KCRG Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said Ebola is grabbing headlines but we need to remember that the flu is the greatest health risk to Iowans. Public health officials recommend vaccinations for everyone over six months old. Young children, adults over 65 years old and pregnant women have the highest risk of getting the flu. Therefore people who fall into one of these categories are encouraged to get the vaccine.
For all of us who have had the flu, we know it is not fun to deal with. I say we should all go to our nearest clinic or pharmacy and get a flu shot. Then we can all stay healthy, and won’t regret not getting the vaccine.