State health officials say it appears school absenteeism related to H1N1 is declining, but the new flu virus is increasing among adults. To date, 16 Iowans – 15 adults and one child – have died from H1N1, while nearly 500 people have been hospitalized. Dr. Ann Garvey with the Iowa Department of Public Health says most Iowans are recovering from the illness without complications, but there are several warning signs that should prompt people to seek medical attention.
Those signs include difficulty breathing or chest pain, purple or blue discoloration of the lips, vomiting, feeling dizzy when standing and the inability to urinate. Garvey says seasonal flu activity in Iowa has not arrived and probably won’t peak until February or March. While H1N1 has claimed 16 lives, seasonal flu and pneumonia contributes to nearly 1,000 deaths in the state every year.
“The difference with seasonal influenza is we tend to see those mortalities in older individuals, whereas we’re seeing many of our (H1N1) deaths in the 25-to-49-year-old age group,” Garvey said. Most of the H1N1 fatality victims in Iowa had risk factors that increased the chance of complications.
You can find out more about H1N1 on the Health Department’s website here.