Today is a great opportunity for county residents to get their flu shots, according to Nancy Sacquitne, RN, Winneshiek County Public Health (WCPH) information officer.

WCPH will host a walk-in flu clinic today, Thursday, Oct. 25, from 2:30 to 6 p.m. at North Winneshiek School.

"It's open to anyone and those who have Medicare should bring their cards," said Sacquitne.

Those without Medicare will be charged $30 for the shot and $40 for the nasal mist.

It's here

Sacquitne said while there have been no reported cases of the flu in Winneshiek County, there have been some confirmed cases in the state of Iowa.

"It's here. That's the best way to put it," she said.

Sacquitne said it is important for people to get their vaccine, as it takes two weeks for antibodies to build up to be immune against the disease.

"The shot takes two weeks, but the mist covers you within 24 hours," she said.

Sacquitne said the shot is safe for anyone six months and older, and the mist is an option for anyone between the ages of two and 49 who is healthy, without the risk of any chronic disease such as diabetes or asthma.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), the flu is circulating in Iowa, particularly among children.

"Children are known as 'super spreaders' because they are often in close contact with others at schools or daycare, and when ill, can quickly spread the illness to others," said Patricia Quinlisk, IDPH medical director.

The 3 Cs

Sacquitne reminds the public to practice the "3Cs.": Cover your coughs and sneezes, Clean your hands frequently and contain your germs by staying home when you are ill.

"When you go out in public, use hand sanitizer. When you go to the store, use those sanitizing wipes to wash off your cart. Prevent the spread of germs and protect yourself," she said.

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. The flu comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. The flu typically lasts between two and 7 days.

A second clinic

There is a second walk-in flu clinic scheduled from 2:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, at Turkey Valley School in Jackson Junction.

WCPH also offers flu shots at their office, located inside the Smith Building in Decorah, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.