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Health Department confirms influenza activity in Cerro Gordo county  

This news story was published on January 4, 2019.
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MASON CITY –  The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health has confirmed there is influenza (flu) activity in Cerro Gordo County. Five cases of Influenza A have been identified over the last couple of weeks. So far four of the five cases have been the H1N1 strain, which is covered by this year’s flu vaccine.

Influenza is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by influenza viruses. Symptoms of influenza include: fever (usually high), headache, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, chills, fatigue, body aches, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms typically appear within 24-72 hours from exposure, with the illness lasting two to five days. People with influenza may be able to infect others by shedding the virus one day before getting sick to five to seven days after. That means that you may be able to pass influenza to someone else before you know you are sick.  In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In general, influenza is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense.

“Last year, our county saw a very high-level of influenza activity”, says Jeni Stiles, RN, Infectious Disease Nurse with the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health. “We are encouraging everyone to get their flu vaccine NOW. Getting the flu vaccine is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting influenza.”

The flu vaccine is still available for those 6 months and older. If you have not received your flu vaccine this year, it is very important to get one now. The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health’s Walk-In Immunization Clinic is open Monday through Friday from 10AM-Noon and 12:30-4PM.

Individuals should practice the following steps to limit the spread of influenza:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. This will block the spread of droplets from your mouth or nose that could contain germs.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.
  • If you or your children become ill with influenza, limit contact with others as much as possible to help prevent spreading the illness.
  • Stay home or keep your child home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to seek medical care.

“It’s very important to keep commonly used surfaces sanitized throughout the day,” says Stiles. “Influenza has been shown to live on surfaces for up to eight hours.”

For more information about influenza, influenza prevention, or the flu vaccine, please call 641-421-9321 or visit our website at

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One Response to Health Department confirms influenza activity in Cerro Gordo county  

  1. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 6, 2019 at 8:01 am

    Yes I will attest as I had the muhungus last week – but I won’t take the huey flu shot so I won’t have to worry about the rest of my body function and I am building my own body immunity to fight it off in the future. Taking the flu shot prevents your body from it natural function of building immunities to various diseases. Hey ! I’m mercury free!