Health department recommends flu vaccine

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Medical officials are urging Iowans to get their yearly flu vaccine.

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is recommending that all Iowa residents who are over 6-months old get their yearly seasonal influenza vaccine. Tests by the State Hygienic Laboratory have shown that the flu is circulating in Iowa.

A spokesperson from the department said that three cases of flu have been identified in eastern and central Iowa. The strain found was reportedly Type A, which is a kind that can cause a more serious illness. The people who were infected were not hospitalized and are recovering.

According to IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, in Iowa doctors are not required to report every case of influenza to the health department. Quinlisk said it is likely that there are more people with the flu out in the community than we are aware of.

Officials from the Iowa health department said that a vaccine is the best defense against influenza. As a way to prevent the spread of germs, they recommend covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands, and staying home when ill.

The flu is a respiratory illness that comes on suddenly, according to health department officials. Symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches. The flu can last anywhere from two to seven days, sometimes causing severe illness in those who are very young or very old, or people who have underlying health conditions.

For more information about the flu and how to protect yourself from it, click here.

For information and locations to get a flu vaccine in Illinois, click here.