Even though Iowa’s flu cases are currently few in number, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network warn that two influenza strains are circulating in the state.
Health professionals say that such early signs of multiple flu strains could indicate that this year’s influenza season will be more severe than normal.
“Identification of two circulating strains by the State Hygienic Lab means that without a flu vaccination, an individual could become ill with the flu two different times,” Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the IDPH medical director, said.
Quinlisk warns the public that this is the time to get the influenza vaccination before the flu spreads.
Scientists report that this year’s flu vaccine is more diverse than usual. Depending on the vaccine you receive, three or four strains could be covered in just one inoculation.
IDPH officials recommend yearly flu vaccinations for individuals as young as 6 months old. Contact with babies, children and elderly, all of whom are more susceptible to the flu, will also make their caretakers more vulnerable to the virus.
Flu symptoms include fever, headache, exhaustion, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. Influenza is especially dangerous for individuals with other health concerns.