Like the rest of the nation, Iowa is battling a high influx of influenza cases, with the peak not expected for several more weeks.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the number of hospitalizations and percent of patients going to clinics for flu-like symptoms is already three times higher than in typical years, when the season peaks in February.
One notable aberration was in 2009, when the H1N1 virus was already widespread — the highest level of flu activity — by October of that year.
Eastern Iowa, so far, is not on pace with the Des Moines area, where hospitals urged patients with non-life-threatening illnesses to seek treatment at clinics rather than emergency rooms, because of heavy patient volumes. Those Des Moines-area hospitals also are restricting visitors.
What’s been your response to this year’s widespread flu outbreak? Are you changing behaviors, such as washing hands more frequently or avoiding public places? Have you gotten a flu shot this year, and is your decision different than in prior years?