The news of recent influenza cases in Linn County has heightened awareness and concern regarding spread of the illness. We want you to know that Linn County Public Health, UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s Hospital, and Mercy Medical Center take this public health issue seriously and are working to help prevent the spread of illness in the community.
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and in severe cases can lead to hospitalization or death. The flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:
• Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Muscle or body aches
• Fatigue (very tired)
• Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
“This is the time of year Public Health receives more reports of increased absenteeism due to influenza illness”, states Heather Meador, Senior Public Health Nurse from Linn County Public Health. To prevent spreading the flu to others, it is important to stay home when ill. It is requested that individuals with the above symptoms do not visit family or friends in the hospital or nursing homes if any of the above symptoms are present. Additionally, it is requested that individuals with influenza-like illness do not attend work, school, religious ceremonies, extracurricular activities, or other social events.
To help prevent flu illness individuals are encouraged to get a flu shot and practice good hand hygiene with frequent hand washing.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Heather Meador, Linn County Public Health Department, (319) 892-6061, Karen VanderSanden, Mercy Medical Center, (319) 398-6083 and Sarah Corizzo, UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s Hospital (319) 369-8372.