First case of influenza reported in county
According to the Washington County Public Health Department, the State Hygienic Laboratory has confirmed the first case of influenza in Washington County. The stain identified was the type A strain — the strain that can cause more serious illness. Flu activity across Iowa is increasing. So far this season, a total of 216 cases have been confirmed by the State Hygienic Lab, with Strain A H1N1 virus predominating.
Symptoms of influenza illness include fever, headache, nonproductive cough, sore throat, and runny nose. Other complications could include pneumonia, ear infections, or sinus infections. People who have underlying medical conditions are at greater risk to these complications.
Flu vaccinations are the single best way to protect yourself, your family and your community against the flu each year. Each year the flu vaccine changes based on surveillance and scientists’ estimations about which type and strain will circulate. About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies provide protection against influenza.
Anyone who wants to reduce his or her chances of getting the flu should get vaccinated. It is recommended that all people 6 months and older get a flu shot. Certain people are at higher risk of complications from the flu. Those people include children age 6 months to 18 years, pregnant women, people 50 years and older, anyone with chronic medical conditions, and people who live in nursing homes.
The best way to protect yourself from getting the flu is to practice good hand hygiene, get your flu shot each year, stay home when you are sick, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Contact your health care provider or Washington County Public Health at <www.washph.com> to get more information on influenza immunizations.