After months of temperatures that averaged above normal, Iowans are seeing some cold weather that’s keeping them inside. Iowa Department of Public Health spokesman Kevin Teale says many people worry about the flu when it starts getting cold — but there are other things to think about too.
Teale says there are a lot of other respiratory illnesses that float around in the winter when people are inside coughing and sneezing on each other. Teale says you should get in the habit of washing your hands regularly to keep from spreading disease. When it comes to the flu, Teale says the Health Department recommends that you get a flu shot. But Teale says you may have to wait until the vaccine is in.
Teale says there are several manufacturers who make the vaccine and it depends on who your health care provider ordered from as to whether or not they have the vaccine yet. Teale says the peak of the flu season doesn’t hit until January, so there’s still plenty of time. Teale says manufacturing problems limited the supply of the vaccine in past years, but he says that shouldn’t be a problem this year.
Teale says federal health officials try to predict each year what strain of flu will be the strongest to target the vaccine. Teale says most years the prediction is very, very close and people are well protected. Teale says manufacturers are expected to produce 100-million doses of the vaccine — the most they’ve ever produced.