More children infected with influenza this year in Iowa than an average year

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Health professionals in eastern Iowa want families to know the seasonal flu poses a greater risk to families than Wuhan coronavirus.

(Image: MGN)

Staff at Linn County Public Health said that's because influenza is rapidly circulating eastern Iowa. The coronavirus, while a significant issue in China, is not.

State data revealed higher rates of children and teenagers are coming down with flu-like symptoms compared to previous years. Children between ages 5 to 17 saw the highest number of flu cases in the state.

Health officials reminded parents to keep their kids home from school when they are sick. They said children can often pass these germs easily.

"We have had some schools that have had high rates of absenteeism due to influenza and influenza-like illnesses," Heather Meador, clinical nurse supervisor at Linn County Public Health, said. "Kids aren't always good about covering their coughs and sneezes, not always good about washing their hands."

48 states have widespread flu activity right now, including Iowa.

The flu shot is the best way to protect against the virus, and it's not too late to get this year's vaccine, according to officials.