Department Medical Director Patricia Quinlisk says its the first death in this flu season and an important reminder to get vaccinated.
“We just felt like we wanted to remind people in Iowa that flu is a serious disease — and at times it can kill you,” Quinlisk says. Doctor Quinlisk says the number of flu cases thus far has been pretty low, which she says is typical of the season.
“It’s not uncommon that we don’t see much activity until the holidays when people really are around each other and travel,” Quinlisk says, “and then we see it really starting to climb in January, and then by the end of January we are starting to peak.” She says the shot will provide you protection fairly quickly.
“If you’ve not already gotten your flu shot, it’s a really good time to go in and get it and you will have protection over the holidays,” Quinlisk says. Quinlisk says the flu vaccine prepared for this year appears to be dialed in to handle the strains that are out there.
“So far the primary strain seems to be what we call the typical seasonal flu strain — which is the AH3N2. We’ve seen a little bit of the 2009 pandemic strain which hits kids pretty hard. It’s called AH1N1…,” Quinlisk says. “The good news is that so far the vaccine is matching up really, really well with the strains that we are seeing in Iowa and across the United States, which means that the vaccine this year should give you protection against any flu strain that you come across.” Doctor Quinlisk says the flu vaccine is readily available this year.
She says getting a flu shout is important and you should also remember the three Cs: Cover your coughs and sneezes; Clean your hands frequently; and Contain germs by staying home when ill. Quinlisk says besides a flu shot, handwashing is the single best way to prevent the spread of illness.
You can find a place to get a flu vaccine here: vaccinefinder.org.