On Oct. 30, the Iowa Department of Public Health released information that the first death of the 2017-18 flu season occurred. A central Iowan over age 80 died of the flu in October.


Dallas County Public Health, backed by the Centers for Disease Control, recommends flu vaccines for everyone over age six months. If you get your vaccine now before the holiday season, your body will have the two weeks needed to achieve full immunization against the flu virus before holiday gatherings start.


Some things to remember:


The flu hits suddenly and can last two to seven days, causing fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.


The flu is spread through respiratory droplets in the air from coughs and sneezes, and by touching surfaces exposed to the droplets (doorknobs, phones, keyboards, etc.)


Influenza does not cause diarrhea and vomiting – usually this is from norovirus.


The flu is a virus, so antibiotics are not effective against it.


Where can you get a flu vaccine? The best choice is at the clinic you normally go to. If you don’t have a primary clinic, call the Health Navigators at Dallas County Public Health, 515-993-3750.