Influenza: know the signs, know there's help

Flu season wear mask
Wearing a mask can protect you from influenza.

UI Hospitals & Clinics is working closely with Johnson County Public Health and other area hospitals to share important information about this season’s flu strains and how to recognize signs and symptoms.

This is an important time to understand how to stay well and how to care for someone in your family who gets sick.

If you or a family member are sick with the flu

  • If you get sick stay home. Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, body aches and sore throat. You can infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.
  • If your children are sick keep them home from school or daycare and notify the school office about their illness.
  • Stay home until symptoms are gone and you are fever-free for 24 hours without the need for fever-reducing medications like Tylenol or Advil.
  • Everyone in your family over the age of six months should get a flu shot. It’s not too late so call your doctor or your pharmacy. All UI QuickCare locations have flu shots available. Flu shots are also available at Johnson County Public Health and you can call 1-319-356-6042 for an appointment.
  • If you are out and about and feel unwell make sure you cover your cough and throw away used tissues right away. Wash your hands often or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Some are at high risk for complications from the flu. These include people under 5 and over 65, pregnant women, people with asthma or heart disease, people with other serious illnesses (such as kidney disease or sickle cell), and people with a weakened immune system (such as people with HIV or who are on chemotherapy). These people need to be especially careful and seek medical care if they become sick with flu-like symptoms.
  • You probably don’t need to go to an emergency room unless you are very sick. You will likely have to wait longer and might be exposed to even more illness sitting in the waiting room. You will also slow care for those truly in need.

If you need to see a medical provider

If you don’t have medical insurance you can still go to UI QuickCare and pay with a credit card. You also can call the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic (1-319-337-4459) for an appointment. Please note that the Free Clinic has limited services and hours.

Signs that you are sick enough to go to an emergency room

  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated
  • Not waking up or interacting with others/confusion
  • Children who are so irritable they do not want to be held
  • Symptoms that have improved but then return with a fever and worse cough
  • Fever and rash in children

For more information

Please visit the Iowa Department of Public Health or CDC websites or please call Johnson County Public Health at 1-319-356-6040 for more information.