Iowa public health officials say two people with flu symptoms have died, marking the state’s first flu-related deaths of the season.
The Iowa Department of Public Health announced the deaths Friday in a news release.
The department said one woman, between the ages of 61 and 80, lived in central Iowa. The other woman, described as 81 or older, lived in northwest Iowa. Both women had “underlying conditions and contributing factors,” according to officials.
“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,” said IDPH Medical Director Dr. Caitlin Pedati in a statement.
Flu shots are still worth getting, even if they offer imperfect protection, experts say. (Photo: AP)
The flu, a respiratory illness, is caused by viruses. Symptoms of the flu may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. Illness from the flu typically lasts two to seven days, according to officials, and often puts healthy people in bed for several days.
The department, which maintains weekly flu reports, said flu activity has increased this week in Iowa to “local spread,” a definition that means the virus is “present” in communities. A report earlier this month had described influenza activity in the state as “low.”
“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,” Pedati added.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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 fully benefit against the flu virus, according to officials.
Barbara Rodriguez covers health care and politics for the Register. She can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 515-284-8011. Follow her on Twitter @bcrodriguez.
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