Flu Information Hits Iowans Where They Live

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Information about influenza is hitting Iowans where they live - literally. Post cards featuring information about preventing the spread of seasonal and novel influenza A (H1N1) are being distributed this week to 1,404,845 residential and P.O. boxes in the state. In addition to the post cards, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) "Fight the Flu: Remember the 3 Cs" campaign includes billboards and public service messages.

"It's important for Iowans to know there are many personal actions they can take to keep themselves, their family, friends and other Iowans healthy," said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. "We encourage Iowans to get their seasonal influenza vaccination now, and when the H1N1 vaccine becomes available, to follow public health guidelines for receiving that vaccination." In addition, there are simple daily habits Iowans can adopt to help prevent the spread of illness. The Three Cs include:

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* Cover your cough. Use a tissue or your elbow to cover coughs and sneezes.
* Clean your hands. Use soap and water or a hand sanitizer.
* Contain germs. Stay home from work or school when sick.

IDPH has also activated its Influenza Hotline. Iowans may call 1-800-447-1985 for information about seasonal and H1N1 influenza.

H1N1 influenza activity is increasing in all parts of Iowa. In general, illness associated with the virus has been mild; however, Iowa has recorded three H1N1-related fatalities and 10 hospitalizations. This is an indication that the disease does have the potential to cause severe illness or death. Since the virus is circulating throughout the state, it's important for all Iowans to take precautions to prevent becoming ill.

The IDPH "Fight the Flu: Remember the Three Cs" campaign was funded through a $6.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for H1N1 preparedness.

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