Iowa records first flu death of season

(Des Moines, Iowa)  Iowa has recorded it's first flu-related death of the season.  An elderly central Iowa man died of the flu this month.  State Health officials say flu activity has been low so far this season.

"This death is an unfortunate reminder 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 State Epidemiologist Dr. Patricia Quinlisk.

The CDC recommends that essentially everyone over 6 months of age should receive the flu vaccine. Now is a good time to be vaccinated, before the holiday season begins. It takes up to two weeks after vaccination for the body to achieve full benefit against the flu virus.

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, and often puts healthy people in bed for days. The ‘stomach bug’ which causes diarrhea and vomiting is not caused by the influenza virus, but usually by norovirus; thus, the flu vaccine will not protect you against this illness.

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