Press Release_120922_Respiratory Illness Guidance

Press Releases




Contact: BlackHawk County Health Department




Keeping the Holiday Season Healthy


Winter is here, and with it, indoor holiday gatherings with friends and family. With elevated levels of respiratory illnesses including flu, RSV, and COVID-19,Black Hawk County Public Health is providing information to the public on how to slow the spread of viruses in the community.

Respiratory viruses spread mainly through droplets in the air when people cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. You may also get sick from touching surfaces or objects that have the flu virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose, or eyes.


Young children and babies, those who are pregnant, people 65 and older, and those with high-risk conditions such as diabetes, asthma, cancer, and heart disease are at a higher risk of complications when exposed to a respiratory illness.

Consider these methods to slow the spread of illness:

Clean your hands and surfaces.

  • Handwashing is one of the most important ways to reduce the spread of illness. Use soap and water, and scrub hands for at least 20 seconds. Dry hands on a clean towel or air dry.
  • Wash hands when you return home from running errands, after work or school, and after you cough or sneeze.
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces often, even when you do not have symptoms.


Cover and contain.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself from illness and to protect vulnerable people like babies, the elderly, or people with high risk of infection.
  • If you have symptoms, stay home. Do not attend holiday gatherings, work, or school.
  • Do not return to daycare, school, work, or other activities until fever free (without medication) for a full 24 hours, and illness symptoms are improving.
  • By keeping hugs and kisses to a minimum, you may protect your family members from getting sick.


Get vaccinated.

  • Reduce severity of illness by getting vaccinated (or boosted) now against COVID-19 and the flu viruses. 
  • Vaccine is readily available in our community. Go to to find convenient options for COVID-19 and flu vaccinations.


Black Hawk County Public Health wishes everyone a healthy holiday season. If you have questions or concerns on preventing flu and other respiratory illness, go to the CDC website or call 319-291-2413.



Black Hawk County Public Health exists to ensure that people in our community have equitable opportunities and resources to lead healthier, more fulfilling, and longer lives. Established in 1969, the health department's mission is to protect people in our community from health hazards, promote healthy behaviors, and prevent disease. Black Hawk County Public Health was accredited by the National Public Health Accreditation Board in 2022. For more information about health department services visit the Black Hawk County Public Health website.