Influenza is hitting the nation, including, Iowa, with full force. Persons falling ill experience fever, body aches, cough, headache and other “cold” symptoms. Unlike some years, it’s not just the very old and very young who are catching the flu this season.

For otherwise healthy adults in the workplace who can’t afford to miss work, heed this advice. Protect yourself from flu with frequent handwashing; avoid shaking hands; cover your own coughs and sneezes; avoid touching public counters, doorknobs and keyboards.

Flu symptoms usually last a couple of weeks and then you’re back to normal. But according to the CDC, for some people flu can progress to sinus and ear infections, pneumonia, and even inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle tissues. For persons with chronic diseases, flu can trigger flare ups of other issues: someone with asthma may have more attacks with flu, or those with heart disease may feel cardiac problems more acutely. If you have a loved one with a chronic disease, don’t be the one who spreads influenza germs to them.

If you have flu germs, you can infect others a day before you have symptoms until 5-7 days after getting sick.