LCHD releases tips to battle influenza outbreak

FORT MADISON – Due to influenza cases on the rise in Iowa, Lee County Health Department wants to remind everyone it is not too late to get the flu shot. Flu shots are still available at LCHD’s immunization clinics held on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month. The next clinics will be at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Keokuk on January 11, 2018 from 12 pm to 4:30 pm and at LCHD’s immunization clinic at #3 John Bennett Drive on January 25, 2018 from 12 pm to 5:30 pm. LCHD will also provide flu shots during scheduled TB clinics held at LCHD’s office on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3-4 pm (except on holidays such as the week of Jan 15th).

Influenza or “Flu” is a highly contagious viral infection that affects mainly the nose, throat, chest and lungs. The flu may cause mild to severe illness, and may even lead to death. In the very young, the elderly, and those with other serious medical conditions, infection can lead to severe complications such as pneumonia. The single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year.

Flu viruses mainly spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Always remember the three C’s- Cover your cough, Clean your hands, and Contain Germs!
If you get the flu remember to stay home from work or school, get plenty of rest and water, and consult with your doctor especially if you are at high risk of complications and serious disease. If you start on anti-viral medications within a day or two of when your symptoms start, your risk of serious disease, hospitalization and even death can be reduced.

Symptoms of flu include fever (typically ≥100° F), headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, and sometimes stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea but this is more common in children than adults.

To protect yourself and family from the flu please remember the following:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds. Wash your hands before and after eating, going to the bathroom, touching pets, phones, or keyboards. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Stay home from work or school when you are ill, and encourage others to do the same.
Stay away from others you know are ill. You are less likely to become ill if you stay at least three feet away from someone who is coughing or sneezing.
Vaccination. The first line of defense against influenza is to get your flu shot each year.
Contact your health care provider. If you experience flu-like symptoms contact your doctor. Your doctor may be able to prescribe antiviral medications for you to shorten the duration of the illness and prevent transmission if within 24-48 hours.
Clean frequently and appropriately. Some viruses can live up to two hours on some surfaces. Frequently clean commonly used surfaces, such as door handles, handrails, eating surfaces, toys, and phones. Commercial disinfectants or bleach solutions should be used. The bleach solution can be made by mixing ¼ cup bleach with 1 gallon of water. The bleach solution must be made fresh daily.

For more information about influenza, visit

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