Nothing says "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings" like the flu, but it's that time of the year.

According to CBS2, the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has confirmed the state's first two deaths of the current "flu season". Both were elderly, over the age of 81, and had underlying conditions. There have been 31 confirmed hospitalizations since the start of this flu season, which began on October 3.

The most recent HHS flu report shows the virus at a moderately high level of activity in the state. Iowa hospitals are reporting high patient admission rates. Getting your flu shot remains the #1 best precaution against catching the flu, along with the continued recommendations to stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations.

Other precautions recommended include:

  • staying home when you're sick
  • frequently cleaning high-touch surfaces in your home (and office) with household disinfectants
  • frequent hand-washing for at least 20 seconds at a time with soap and water and/or hand sanitizer
  • cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or if a tissue is not available, cover them with an upper shirt sleeve, not a hand.
  • avoid social gatherings if you or your children are ill
  • Keep children home from daycare or school who have a fever, cough, congestion, runny nose, or sore throat, and until they are fever-free for 24 hours without medications that reduce fever.

By the end of the 2021-2022 flu season, there had been a total of flu-related deaths, according to the Des Moines Register.

There has also been an alarming surge in in recent weeks at the state's hospitals in an illness leaving infants and toddlers most vulnerable. The Register says that the latest data from the state public health department shows more than 1,300 cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in Iowa as of two weeks ago, a major jump from the roughly 360 cases in mid-October.

Symptoms of RSV include runny nose, coughing, sneezing, fever, and wheezing. Parents of children at these ages are urged to keep their children home if any symptoms are present or the child appears sick.

There are several videos on YouTube describing how to respond to RSV, including the one below from the Alliance for Patient Access.

Coldest Morning in Cedar Rapids History

On January 31, 2019, the mercury in Cedar Rapids hit -30. That's the actual temperature that morning, which set the new record for the coldest temperature in Cedar Rapids history, with records dating back to 1893. The previous all-time record low temperatures for the city was -29 on January 15, 2009.

KEEP READING: See 25 natural ways to boost your immune system

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