Flu shots available now across eastern Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Flu shots available now across eastern Iowa

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

While health experts work to limit a possible outbreak of Ebola, there's a much more common virus that is more likely to affect you - the flu.

So far this season, there haven't been any reports of the flu in Iowa. Last year, nearly 500 people were hospitalized in the state and it can be deadly for older Iowans and young children.

Flu shots are available now.

In many cases it's free to get one - whether it's through Medicare, your insurance or your employer.

A lot of people are already making sure they get this year's vaccine.

Kimberly Johnson's not waiting to get her flu shot.

The home health care provider works with vulnerable populations.

"If you have the flu, you can give it to others very easily and I don't want to do that. I even got it when it was private pay," said Johnson.

She's one of dozens of patients at the Visiting Nurses Association in Waterloo getting this year's shot.

So far, the VNA has administered about 800 doses in the Cedar Valley.

Nurses say it's quick and easy - and saves lives.

"A lot of people think of it as, oh, it's just the flu. People don't realize that there's a lot of people that die from just the flu," said VNA patient care coordinator Elaine Slade.

And though the number of cases of Ebola in the U.S. may be alarming, its difficult for that virus to spread.

The flu is the opposite.

"It's very easily spread because the problem with the flu is, with it being a respiratory virus, when people cough, when people sneeze, things are spread through droplets, other people breathe in those viruses, when they do that, they get infected and they can spread disease before they even get ill," said Slade.

This year, health experts - including the American Academy of Pediatrics are strongly recommending kids between the ages of 2-8 get the nasal mist vaccine rather than the traditional flu shot.

And they recommend everyone over the age of 6 months get the vaccine.

Health experts say there's no shortage of vaccines this year.

They say you should get your shot early because it takes about 2 weeks to fully take effect and will take hold for the rest of the winter months.

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