MASON CITY, Iowa – The first case of the flu this season has been confirmed in Cerro Gordo County.
The county’s Department of Public Health says people with the flu may be able to infect others both before and after they show any symptoms themselves.
“The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get the flu shot. With the holidays only weeks away, it’s very important to get your flu shot as soon as possible as it can take up to two weeks to become effective”, says Jeni Stiles, RN, Infectious Disease Nurse. “Our Department’s Walk-In Immunization Clinic is open Monday through Friday from 10AM-Noon and 12:30-4PM. We still have vaccine and would be happy to get you protected before the holidays.”
The Public Health Department is recommending the following steps to limit the spread of the flu:
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. This will block the spread of droplets from your mouth or nose that could contain germs.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Try to avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.
• If you or your children become ill with the flu, limit contact with others as much as possible to help prevent spreading the illness.
• Stay home or keep your child home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to seek medical care.
"It’s very important to keep commonly used surfaces sanitized throughout the day,” says Stiles. “Influenza has been shown to live on surfaces for up to eight hours.”
For more information about influenza, influenza prevention or the influenza vaccine, please call 641-421-9321 or visit the Cerro Gordo County public health website by clicking here.