(Des Moines, IA) The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces today the first influenza-related deaths confirmed as occurring during the 2022-23 influenza season: both elderly people (81 years and over) from northern Iowa with underlying conditions. The current flu season began on October 3, 2022.
Influenza strains, along with other respiratory viruses are circulating the state. The most recent HHS flu report shows the virus at a moderately high level of activity in the state. Iowa hospitals are reporting high patient admission rates. Iowans can help reduce the burden on hospitals and health care providers by taking a few simple precautions.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and our family from severe illness, hospitalization and death. Iowans should also follow simple practices to keep themselves and their family members healthy during respiratory virus season.
Practical Tips to Stay Healthy:
- Get vaccinated for the flu and COVID-19.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Clean high touch surfaces in your home frequently with household disinfectants.
- Practice hand hygiene frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or hand sanitizer.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or if a tissue is not available, cover them with upper shirt sleeve, not a hand.
- Avoid social gatherings if you or your children are ill.
- Keep children home from daycare or school who have fever, cough, congestion, runny nose, or sore throat, and until they are fever-free for 24 hours without medications that reduce fever.
If you or a loved one is sick and needs medical care contact your pediatrician or healthcare provider. Your provider can offer advice on whether your child needs to be evaluated in person, tested for COVID-19 or flu, and the best location for care. Iowans should not visit Emergency Department for cold and flu symptoms, sore throats, ear infections, minor burns or injuries, sprains and strains, rash or other skin irritations.
Additional Flu and COVID-19 Vaccination information:
- Vaccinate your children ages 6 months and older against influenza as soon as possible.
- Vaccinate your children ages 6 months and older against COVID-19; children 5 and older who had their primary series more than 2 months ago should receive an updated COVID-19 booster as soon as possible.
Iowans with questions about vaccines should speak to their health care provider. Find a vaccine provider here: or https://www.vaccines.gov/.