Flu spreads across nation earlier than normal - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Flu spreads across nation earlier than normal

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©  The Iowa Department of Public Health's sentinel hospitals say numbers of hospitalized with the flu more than doubled in a week, 68 cases to 151. © The Iowa Department of Public Health's sentinel hospitals say numbers of hospitalized with the flu more than doubled in a week, 68 cases to 151.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

Ann Brouillette owns Sioux City's Heart & Hand quilting store. She's back in the swing of things. But two weeks ago, Brouillette was stuck in bed, suffering from her 2nd round of the flu this season.

"I had a week off, and had it the week before. It was not good. I had the stomach flu, the aches and pains, just miserable," she said.

Multiple flu strains have spread like wildfire across the nation since October. Forty-one states report widespread flu activity. The Iowa Department of Public Health's sentinel hospitals say numbers of hospitalized with the flu more than doubled in a week, 68 cases to 151. Health officials are concerned, saying flu stats are higher than what's normal this time of year.

"That means that we have much more flu illness out there, increased risk of hospitalization, increased risk of death or severe illness because of the flu," said Linda Drey, the nursing director at Siouxland District Health.

Here are a list of flu symptoms to look out for; fever, dry cough, extreme fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, or vomiting. Doctors say if you get the flu, keep it from spreading by staying home. They say you could be there for days.

"Usually, it's two days where you are feeling fairly ill. And, about up to a week until you are back to doing your normal activities," said family practice Dr. David Ensz.

Brouillette's two battles with the flu weren't easy. But, she says both times, rest and chicken soup fixed her up.

"I'm over it, and hopefully it won't hit me again," she said with a laugh.

What's the best way of preventing the flu? Get a vaccination against it. Doctors say there's a chance you could still get sick, but your symptoms won't be as severe. If you need a shot, they say contact your health provider. Local officials say there's no shortage of supply.

Check out the Centers for Disease Control flu activity map here.

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