While there’s still been no case of the flu diagnosed in Iowa yet, an expert says that’s not a reason to let up in precautions against getting sick. Doctor Tim Guttschall is clinical coordinator for the Iowa Foundation for Medical Care. Routine hygiene is extremely important, for caring for patients in a hospital as well as preventing it in your home. He says if you’re sneezing, coughing and suffering a fever you should stay home from work and kids with those symptoms should stay home from school. The virus depends on physical contact, he points out, the only way it’s known to spread. Dr. Guttschall says there are other things that can be done in lieu of a flu shot. He says there are anti-viral medicines to prevent the development of influenza, and people in high-risk groups can ask their doctor for those. The doctor says anyone can safeguard their health by taking common-sense steps to stay fit and in good shape. He suggests good nutrition and doing “all the right things” to keep yourself healthy. But a flu shot may not be the best way protect a patient.There’s a kind of pneumonia known as pneumococcal, preventable by a vaccine called P-P-V, and that shot could help hi-risk people with lung disease and prevent the complications of pneumonia. Guttschall says when you have so-called “stomach flu” or feel run-down, it’s actually not always the serious disease doctors know as influenza. He says people use “flu” as a term interchangeable with a “virus,” but influenza’s a specific set of viruses that cause a serious infection in the lungs and upper airways as well as other parts of the body, and also leave you undefended against other “secondary” infections.
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