More Eastern Iowans Look for Flu Vaccines as Cases Spike

By Addison Speck, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Flu viruses are spreading across the nation and in Eastern Iowa. Some doctors and nurses in the area said the flu is so wide-spread vaccines are in high demand.

"We are certainly getting a lot more calls of people wanting the flu vaccine, especially for children," said Teresa Krone, a Nurse Practitioner with Linn County Public Health. Krone, said she's seen a lot more patients with influenza in the last couple weeks.

The flu brought fevers, coughing, and body aches to the area, before normal this year. "The Iowa Department of Public Health is telling us that they are seeing more flu and they are seeing it earlier than they have in the last two years," said Krone. She said a wave typically comes after Christmas but cases were being reported before Thanksgiving.

Dr. Clete Younger, with St. Luke's Physicians and Clinics - Family Practice Associates, said on Tuesday that the flu is so widespread, testing isn't important anymore. "At the point where the flu starts to get widespread, we start to dial back testing because it's just not as useful if you see someone who has the symptoms you kind of just assume that they have influenza," Younger said. Younger said patients sometimes still have the flu despite a flu test coming back negative.

As more people get sick, people rush in to get a flu vaccine. Siana Djambazka, of Cedar Rapids, heard on the news that the flu is widespread in 41 states. It prompted her to bring her nearly 4-year-old son Daniel to Linn County Public Health on Tuesday for a flu shot. "It gives me a piece of mind that at least I know I've done what I can," she said.

Statewide tests confirm Iowa is actually being hit by three separate flu strains at once. "Which means you could get the flu three times this year and one of them we know is probably pretty bad. So go get your flu shot if you haven't gotten it already," said Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the State Epidemiologist.

"No vaccine is a 100 percent, but at least the hope is if you get the vaccine and the flu, it won't be quiet as severe and you won't have the complications," added Krone. Krone said if you start to experience trouble breathing or your symptoms don't start gradually getting better you should see a doctor or go to the hospital.

Doctors and nurses said it's not too late to get vaccinated. The flu season doesn't wind down for a few more months. But younger said with or without a flu shot, people should continue to consistently wash their hands. "Treat everybody like a stranger and wash your hands religiously," he said.
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