Beating the flu before it hits - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Beating the flu before it hits

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Flu season is here.

That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who says there's been a substantial increase in flu activity across the country.

It's one of the earliest flu seasons ever.

Iowa hasn't seen the spike some southern states have but the number of cases is starting to increase here, too.

Local health officials say they aren't seeing a lot of flu problems at this time-just 64 confirmed cases in the state the week of November 24th.

However, the Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network's newest report shows there are now outbreaks beginning in multiple regions of the state.

Heather Meador is a nurse with the Linn County Public Health Department.

She says the number of flu cases here in Iowa is about average for this time of year.

Schools aren't reporting many cases, likely because kids are still playing outside.

That's good news for you.

"A lot of times we will see influenza-like illnesses building in the schools because kids are contained in the buildings," said Meador.  "So we try to do a lot of surveillance with our schools."

While some states are seeing high numbers of flu cases earlier than usual, it's hard to know what to expect here in Iowa.

"We've had kind of an unusual year," said Meador.  "It's hard to say just how many flu cases we're going to see this year, for sure. But we need to be preventative. We need to be prepared."

Experts say you should follow the "3 C's"

  • Clean your hands.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Contain yourself - stay home if you feel sick.

The other thing you can do is get your flu shot if you haven't already.

"We still recommend getting that flu shot," said Meador.  "That flu shot, we know, is a good match for flu strains that we are going to be seeing. The best way to keep yourself and your family, your friends, your coworkers safe, is by getting that flu shot."

For those who are afraid of needles, don't forget there's also a nasal spray version of the flu vaccine.

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