State health officials are reporting a slight decline in the number of people being hospitalized with the flu, but more school children are getting sick with the flu.
Iowa Department of Public Health Medical Director Patricia Quinlisk is pleading with parents – if your children are sick – don’t send them to school.
“The other thing, and I know a lot of schools do this, is to teach children about coughing and sneezing into their elbow and not just out into the air or into their hand,” Dr. Quinlisk says. “And schools do a lot in trying to keep the surfaces, door knobs and things like that clean.”
Last week, 24 Iowa schools reported at least 10-percent student absenteeism due to illness. Quinlisk says the flu season usually extends into April, so it’s definitely not too late for Iowans to boost their immunity with a flu shot.
“It’s not unexpected that we might have a second peak, especially of a new strain coming up at the end of the season. That’s pretty typical,” Quinlisk said. “You can still get the flu and getting your flu shot now, while it’s a little bit late, it will certainly still give you some protection and still may stop you from getting the flu and getting seriously ill.”
A report from the Iowa Department of Public Health shows just under 700 flu-related hospitalizations have been reported across the state so far this season.