Health officials say flu season could get worse

In Wapello County and Iowa, flu cases are on the rise.

With the holiday season coming to an end, medical experts predict that the number of people infected with influenza is going to jump.

The reason, people traveled all over the country for the holidays to see family and friends; and because of that, experts are saying that if you have not gotten your flu shot, get it now, before it gets worse.

â??We are seeing more cases of influenza this year then we have in the past few years. I have not seen this number of incidents since the H1N1 in 2009,â?? said Lynelle Diers, Clinical Director of the Wapello County Public Health Department. â??We tend to see an increase in illnesses because people want to be with their families during the holidays; and even though they are ill, they will still go to see their family.â??

And that is what worried public health officials. The amount of Americans that traveled during this holiday season increased, meaning the spread of the influenza virus, should also increase.

â??Influenza is very contagious, so, if you do have it and you have been at family reunions, just by being around them, coughing and sneezing, you have probably passed it on to other individuals,â?? Diers said.

With that being said, Diers is warning those in the community who have not received their flu shot for this year to do so, and quickly.

â??Most individuals that have not been vaccinated probably will become ill if they are exposed to it. Individuals that have been vaccinated hopefully will not become ill, but if they do, the illness should be shortened and they will not become as ill as if they not receive the vaccine,â?? Diers said.

Wapello County Public Health is offering the flu vaccination at their offices in downtown Ottumwa.

For information on times of operation and the cost of the vaccine, click here.