The Iowa Department of Public Health reports two flu-related deaths of women.

One of the woman was in the 61-80 year age range and lived in central Iowa. The other woman was more than 81 years old and she lived in northwest Iowa. The Health Department says both women had underlying conditions or contributing factors.

IDPH Medical Director Doctor Caitlin Pedati says these deaths are an unfortunate reminder that flu can be a serious illness. “The flu virus does have the potential to cause severe illness and death, especially in the very young, very old, or those who have underlying health conditions. This is a great time to get the flu vaccine to prevent yourself and your loved ones from becoming sick before flu activity increases further.”

The CDC recommends that essentially everyone over 6 months of age should receive the flu vaccine. It takes up to two weeks after vaccination for the body to achieve full benefit against the flu virus.