Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Community News Network

January 18, 2013

Nurses still advise vaccination for flu

Stay home when sick and disinfect surfaces for prevention

OTTUMWA — Clinical Director Lynelle Diers of Wapello County Public Health cautions those who might have the flu.

“If you’re sick, stay home,” Diers said Thursday. “Don’t go to work or to church.”

“There’s a portion of the population that believes the world won’t go on without them if they miss work,” agreed Jackie Greenfield, director of student health and wellness at Indian Hills Community College.

With 600 employees, the Ottumwa school district is one of the city’s larger employers.

“Many employees want to battle through it and be at work,” said Davis Eidahl, superintendent of Ottumwa schools. “But they were pretty responsible about staying home and not contributing to the spread.”

The flu epidemic that has put a stranglehold on the country means more people are getting flu vaccinations locally, according to Diers.

“By this time, we usually haven’t given any vaccinations,” she said Thursday. “Now we have a significant number of people coming in or calling us.”

That includes people from neighboring counties that ran out of the vaccine. And those people still getting vaccinated are being smart, said Greenfield.

“There are three strains of flu. The CDC tells us the vaccine protects against all three. So if you’ve been sick [from one strain], it still makes sense to get vaccinated [as protection from] the other two.”

Diers said her team is “here to serve the public,” and she’s glad to still have vaccine so she can continue to help sick patients.

Some of the other viruses going around include one that causes vomiting and diarrhea, another that’s “just a cold” and one called RSV, which affects children.

“It’s a respiratory virus kids can get, and the preemies can suffer,” Diers said. “The vaccine for that is expensive, too, and they’re at higher risk for the virus.”

Diers noted influenza isn’t vomiting and diarrhea, and people get it confused with other problems. One sign of influenza is a high temperature, which can go up to 104 degrees. Other signs include a cough, sore throat, joint and muscle ache, headache, chills and feeling very tired.

“A person who gets influenza knows they’re sick enough because they can’t get out of bed for some days,” Diers said.

Indian Hills saw more absenteeism among employees and even more among students.

“We were starting to see a high number of cases presenting with influenza-like symptoms [starting] December 10,” Greenfield said. “Then we went into Christmas break; that seemed to be really timely for us. Cases [have] leveled off.”

Eidahl said nearly the same thing.

“Right before Christmas break, it was getting pretty widespread,” he said. “We hit 10 percent absenteeism is some buildings. When you’re talking 4,600 students, that’s significant. At 10 percent, we have to report to [that] to the state.”

Both school organizations estimated for a while, absenteeism among students doubled. But it’s getting better.

“We aren’t at 10 percent anymore,” Eidahl confirmed.

Diers wants people to clean off mutual areas, remotes, the telephone and other items a family might share at home.

The Ottumwa school district takes that advice. Custodians have been told to disinfect water fountains and door knobs multiple times throughout the day.

“I hit all the elementary buildings today,” said Eidahl, “and in three of them I saw the custodians wiping down phones and key boards. Little things you don’t think about.”

“And, if you’re out in the public and notice people coughing,” Diers said, “distance yourself from them.”

Both nurses acknowledged there are people who are vaccinated that may still contract the flu, though usually a milder form. Not getting vaccinated is worse, though.

“Of our cases that [appear to be flu], 90 percent were unvaccinated,” Greenfield said.

Another reason to still get the vaccine from public health, a pharmacy or other health care provider?

“What I’m hearing,” said Greenfield, “is there could be a little surge again in February.”

1
Text Only
Community News Network
Features
AP Video
Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel David Perdue Wins Georgia GOP Senate Runoff 98-Year-Old Woman Left in Parked Truck Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Raw: MD Church Built in 1773 Ravaged by Fire Flight to Tel Aviv From US Diverted to Paris AP Review: Amazon Fire Adds Spark to Smartphones Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Raw: Massive Fire Burns in North Dakota Town Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Upon completion and reopening of Third Street, should the City of Knoxville wait to start the next stage of the Streetscape and Infrastructure project until 2015?

Yes
No
     View Results