Preventing flu outbreaks in care facilities - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Preventing flu outbreaks in care facilities

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As the deadly flu season continues across the state, eastern Iowa care facilities are ramping up measures to prevent an outbreak. 

According to the Iowa Department of Health, 77 Iowans have died from flu-related deaths this season. The Center for Disease Control says adults over the age of 65 are especially vulnerable. 

For that reason, Windhaven Assisted Living in Cedar Falls is working to prevent an outbreak for their seniors.

"We've had a very low incidence of influenza this year, which has been great," said Western Home Communities Senior Communications Manager Linda Bowman. "Partially, I believe, because of some of the precautions we've taken. We've done some extra house cleaning. We've reminded people to wear masks. We encouraged all of our employees to get flu shots. And whenever we've had a couple of cases show up, we've reacted right away."

Bowman says people don't realize the germs they're bringing into the building.  The facility is providing masks as soon as you enter the door, and hand sanitizer stations around the building.

"Keep in mind, if you've already been exposed, you might already have something that you can pass on to someone else," said Bowman. " So really be careful, if you've been around a lot of sick children and sick family members, you might want to wait. Of course our people love visitors, and we want to encourage that, but we don't want people to get sick."

Another big push for the facility is making sure their employees and residents are washing their hands. Both residents and employees had fun creating a music video to the tune of "Can't Stop the Feeling" to remind everyone to was their hands. 

The lyrics make washing your hands rather catchy, "Interlace my fingers, rub back and forth. We're disinfectin' twenty seconds in the zone. I got that cleanser in my pocket, non-slip shoes on my feet. Feel that hot water on my hands when it drops."

"The message can seem kind of blah, and repetitive, so we wanted it to be kind of fun, we wanted to involve employees to just kind of around to coalesce around this message that you know what-it's important to wash our hands thoroughly and often so people don't get sick," said Bowman. 

The facility provides flu shots to their residents and employees. Experts say it's never too late to get a flu shot, but remember to cover your cough, clean your hands, and contain your germs. 

The Center for Disease Control says children under the age of five and pregnant women are also other high risk groups for the flu.

To see the most recent report from the Iowa Department of Public Health, click here. 

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