Several schools in the state are reporting 10% or more of their students absent because of the flu. Doctor Tony Carter is with St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids. He says that all of the flu cases the hospital is seeing are H1N1 related and that the seasonal flu season has not started.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that most H1N1 cases are mild, but children seem to be suffering the most extreme effects from the new virus. Nationwide, H1N1 is blamed for 76 child deaths. Given the concerns over H1N1, Doctor Carter says it’s critical for parents to keep their children out of school until they’ve completely recovered.
“They shouldn’t be at school with a fever and they’re still basically infectious if they have a cough,” Carter said. Many parents struggle deciding if their child is sick enough to stay home. Angela Ulferts is a nurse at Cedar Rapids Prairie High School. “We like students to stay home fever-free for 24 hours, without any fever reducing medication,” Ulferts said.
Doctor Carter says children with H1N1 symptoms may take up to seven days to recover from the illness. There have been four H1N1 related deaths in Iowa this year. All of the victims were adults. Local public health agencies around the state are being supplied with the H1N1 vaccine. The first, small batch of vaccine arrived in the state last week. State health officials say they expect more doses of the H1N1 vaccine this week.
Contributed by Chris Earl, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids