Update on the Flu in Illinois

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Published on January 9 2013 8:17 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck has advised the public on the current flu situation in Illinois.

“We have been and continue to see an increase in flu activity across the state. The flu strain that is predominately circulating this year is typically more severe, with more hospitalizations and deaths. From the beginning of October through the end of December we’ve seen almost 150 people admitted to hospital intensive care units (ICU) with influenza like illness. There have also been six flu-related deaths of ICU patients. This compares to last year at this time when there were only two ICU hospitalizations and no deaths.”

“Due to the increased flu activity, many people are going to hospital emergency departments. So much so that some hospitals have needed to direct all but the most critical patients to nearby hospitals because they do not have enough room or possibly staff to see patients. In most cases we recommend contacting a health professional before going to an emergency department if you are experiencing flu symptoms. The majority of people suffering from the flu simply need to stay home, rest and let the flu run its course. Typically only people with severe respiratory illness who have trouble breathing need to visit a hospital emergency department.”

“It is not too late to be vaccinated, to get a flu shot. The flu season normally runs through March and sometimes later. If you do get the flu, the vaccine can also reduce the amount of time you’re sick and the severity of symptoms. By getting vaccinated, you can also help protect infants, the elderly and those with chronic diseases who are at greatest risk for complications due to the flu.”

Many pharmacies offer flu vaccinations, as well as local health departments, some physician offices and health clinics. To find where you can receive a flu vaccination, contact your local health department or log onto the flu vaccine finder at http://www.flu.gov/#.

To reduce the spread of influenza and other contagious diseases, it is always important to practice the 3 C’s –

• Clean – properly wash your hands frequently

• Cover – cover your cough and sneeze

• Contain – contain your germs by staying home if you are sick

For more information, log onto www.idph.state.il.us/flu/index.htm.