Reported Cases of Influenza Low in Iowa

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Every week the Iowa Department of Public Health puts out a flu report and so far there hasn’t been a lot to report.

“It’s been relatively mild. We’ve had maybe 10 people hospitalized,” said Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, medical director, Iowa Department of Public Health.

There’s even more good news when it comes to the flu here in Iowa.

A lot of Iowans have already gotten the flu shot, about 100,000 more people than last year. Also, the flu shot is more effective against the four major strains than it was last year.

Dr. Quinlisk says that while it’s been a mild flu season so far we are not in the clear just yet.

“We certainly would expect now that the holidays are coming up and people are traveling. We would expect to see more cases and unfortunately more people being hospitalized,” said Dr. Quinlisk.

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, we are coming up on the worst time of the year for the flu. There are few common reasons for the uptick and it starts with that pesky family of yours.

“But also we gather together in bigger groups with our families and friends. Again, a place for things to spread,” said Dr. Quinlisk.

It’s not just those snot-nosed nephews that can get you sick this time of year. Airports are one of the worst places to be, because you are exposing yourself to all kinds of bacteria your body isn’t used to. Another danger zone to avoid is that line you’re planning on waiting in to score that "Black Friday" deal.

“That flu virus can go thru the air 3 to 6 ft. So, if you’re standing in line and somebody in line is coughing. Ok, now you can get the flu,” said Dr. Quinlisk.

What can we do to prevent getting sick?

“Just think of the 3 C’s. Cover your cough. Clean your hands. Contain yourself at home if you’re sick. So follow the 3 C’s, you’ll feel better everyone around you will be a lot happier,” says Dr. Quinlisk.