First 2018-19 Flu Death Recorded in Iowa

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced the first flu-related death of the 2018-2019 influenza season, a middle-aged (41-60 years of age) Eastern Iowa man, who had underlying conditions or contributing factors. IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Caitlin Pedati, says this death is an indication that flu can be a serious illness. “This death is an unfortunate reminder the flu virus does have the potential to cause severe illness and death, especially in the very young, very old, or those who have underlying health conditions.”

After 10 weeks of low influenza activity in Iowa, flu activity has increased over the last three weeks and influenza has been reported in every region of the state.

The CDC recommends that essentially everyone over 6 months of age should receive the flu vaccine. It takes up to two weeks after vaccination for the body to achieve full benefit against the flu virus.

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. 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, and often puts healthy people in bed for days. The “stomach bug” which causes diarrhea and vomiting is not caused by the influenza virus, but usually by norovirus; thus, the flu vaccine will not protect you against this illness.

To learn more about influenza in Iowa, visit http://idph.iowa.gov/influenza. Contact your health care provider or local health department to find out where the vaccine is available in your community or use the Flu Vaccine Finder at https://vaccinefinder.org.