Officials report Iowa flu toll has risen to 14 since October

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Getting a flu shot is the very best way to safeguard yourself, your family, your co-workers and neighbors from harm, and there's still time to do so.

Folk said there are two possible reasons for the spike.

This year's flu season has been markedly worse than those of the last few years.

According to Mosaic, the second issue is that the flu vaccine is perceived to not be as effective this year as it normally would be.

Roughly 270,000 people took advantage of the free flu shot, 20,000 less than a year ago.

Doctors said the flu vaccine is thought to be about 60 percent effective. Cone Health leaders say emergency room visits are stacked with people experiencing flu-like symptoms.

The state is also reporting a number of influenza outbreaks in long-term care facilities, with 49 outbreaks reported this season.

"This year, so far in the US, about 85 percent of the flu strains have been Influenza A H3N2 and 15 percent Influenza B", Folk said.

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Part of the reason people are concerned about this year's season is because of the type of virus that is circulating. Shelly Harkins says that people should take any precaution they can to prevent the spread of the flu.

"It can reduce the severity of symptoms". H3N2 is associated with more severe illness, especially among children and the elderly.

Step No. 1 is to get a flu shot.

This month, Kaiser Permanente members received texts and calls warning them of long wait times in the urgent care and ERs.

"Of course, normally you wouldn't see Influenza B until later on in the season and we've seen a lot of Influenza B - as much as Influenza A, basically", says Kendall.

The acting state health officer, Scott Harris, said hospitals in almost one-third of Alabama's counties are at 90 percent of their patient capacity, and some are full. "Instead of being dead you're in the hospital, instead of being in the hospital you're home in bed". Doctors are not required in Texas to report cases of influenza.

According to the latest flu report from the IDPH, about 230 people have been hospitalized due to the flu since October 1, 2017. Insurance, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are all accepted for children's flu shots.

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