Two Iowans die of influenza

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Flu cases are escalating, and two Iowans have died from influenza, according to the state’s department of health.

Both victims were men, between 41 and 60 years of age, who lived in central Iowa, according to a report from the Iowa Department of Public Health. Both men also had underlying health conditions.

“The most current surveillance shows three states in the nation have the highest estimated influenza activity – Iowa, Oregon and Rhode Island,” the report said.

Influenza can cause severe illness, but it’s more likely that complications – such as pneumonia that develops as a result of influenza – pose more risk to patients. Influenza is a respiratory illness; that stomach bug that causes diarrhea and vomiting is usually norovirus and is not caused by the influenza virus.

Tried and true basic advice is still best, the IDPH report says. Get the flu vaccine, keep your hands washed, and sneeze or cough into your elbow instead of your hand to help avoid spreading the virus. If you are sick, stay home so you don’t infect others.