11/7/2012 11:40:00 AM IDPH urges Iowans
to get influenza vaccine
Surveillance shows flu is spreading, especially among children. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) urges all Iowans over six months of age to receive their yearly seasonal influenza vaccine. Surveillance by IDPH influenza sentinel sites and confirmatory testing by the State Hygienic Laboratory shows the flu is circulating in Iowa, and appears to be particularly spreading among children. “Children are known as ‘super spreaders’ because they are often in close contact with others at schools or daycare, and when ill, can quickly spread the illness to others,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. While the flu vaccine is the best defense against getting influenza, it’s also important to take personal actions to help prevent the spread of illness. Remember the 3Cs: Cover your coughs and sneezes; Clean your hands frequently; and Contain germs by staying home when ill. The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. The flu comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days. Influenza may cause severe illness or even death in people such as the very young or very old, or those who have underlying health conditions. Influenza is not a ‘reportable disease’ in Iowa, which means doctors are not required to notify IDPH each time a patient tests positive for influenza. However, IDPH conducts year-round influenza surveillance through the Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network. This surveillance indicates what types of influenza viruses are circulating and how widespread influenza illness is. Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care offers flu shots every Wednesday afternoon during its regular immunization clinics. The next flu shot clinics will be held Wednesday, November 7 from 1 to 6 p.m. and again Wednesday, November 14 from 1 to 4 p.m. and each Wednesday thereafter. The Community and Home Care Immunization Clinic is located on the upper level of Veterans Memorial Hospital. Immunization clinics are held from 1 to 6 p.m. the first and third Wednesdays of the month and from 1 to 4 p.m. all other Wednesdays. The flu vaccine will be available each Wednesday during the normal immunization clinic hours. Flu vaccine, pneumonia vaccine, and a combination of flu and pneumonia vaccine will all be available. Tetanus shots will be offered as well. The cost for a flu shot is $25. Medicare does cover the costs. Billing for Medicare will be completed by the Community and Home Care staff, but participants will need to bring their physician’s name and their Medicare number with them. Pneumonia shots are also available for $58 and Tdap shots for $48.
For more information, call Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care at 563-568-5660.
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